7 Benefits to Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter

There are never ending benefits to becoming a firefighter, but in this article I want to highlight seven benefits to becoming a volunteer firefighter.

Thousands of kids across the United States dream of becoming a firefighter when they grow up. Unfortunately, not as many actually do!

If you would be interested in pursuing a firefighting career and are motivated by an urgent need to serve your community, becoming a volunteer firefighter might just be for you.

Benefits To Becoming A Volunteer Firefighter

  • Opportunity to learn and build your resume
  • Serve your local community
  • Build more than just friendships
  • A sense of pride
  • A flexible schedule for work-life balance
  • Great opportunity for career growth
  • Some financial aid

Becoming a volunteer firefighter is arguably one of the most rewarding and fulfilling positions you can fill in your community. What’s even more encouraging about it is that it requires little to no experience to get started.

The primary objective of fire departments is to help prevent the fire from taking lives and destroying property. A volunteer firefighter is an individual who voluntarily provides his/her services to protect the community.

Research has indicated that nearly seventy percent of the United States fire service staff is made up of volunteers. For several reasons, the number of volunteers keeps decreasing while call volumes are on the rise.

This implies that there is an urgent need for a new group of volunteer firefighters and the opportunity waits for those who are willing to serve. Of course, the best place to begin is where you live.

Most fire departments have strict residency requirements and will only give you a chance to volunteer if you reside within a certain mileage from their central response area.

The primary reason behind this is simple. Fire departments need someone who can conveniently receive an alert and act fairly fast to respond to an emergency call.

Despite being an unpaid service, volunteer firefighting comes with a lot of potential benefits. So, if you are currently wondering about the possibility of becoming a volunteer firefighter but haven’t made up your mind, below are seven great reasons why you should become volunteer firefighter.

A great opportunity to build your resume:

Experience is a word usually thrown around in college classes and job interviews (especially during the firefighter interview), and if you are an aspiring firefighter, you should take this very seriously.

Experience is a critical factor, especially when it comes to securing a position with a career department, and without an adequate amount of experience, you risk getting passed up for a job vacancy you are actually qualified for.

Don’t let a great opportunity pass you by, get the experience you need for your dream job by becoming a volunteer firefighter to gain some experience.

The prospect of working at your local fire department is a great step toward becoming a career firefighter. If you didn’t know, when trying to get hired at a career department, fire chiefs and officers almost always favor the candidate who already has some level of experience.

Working as a volunteer firefighter provides you the opportunity to interact with other career firefighters who are volunteering to help in their community.

What’s more, while working as a volunteer firefighter, you will likely undergo additional training to hone your skills even further. You will receive wildfire training, operational training, advanced medical training as well as leadership training.

Simply put, being a volunteer firefighter is one of the best ways to get the much-needed work experience and build your resume for better future opportunities.

An opportunity to serve your community:

Being a volunteer firefighter can be a hugely rewarding experience and a unique way to serve your community.

However, it does require lots of dedication, leadership, sacrifice as well as immense mental and physical stamina.

Many communities depend on firefighters for protection against fire hazards and other disasters and individuals must volunteer to become firemen at their various local departments.

Volunteer firefighters not only serve their community but are equally more visible and active members of their community. This is primarily because the work that fire departments perform in the community has a direct impact on the people you know and interact with daily.

Saving lives and property and serving people is arguably the primary reason why you would want to enter into a public safety career. When you work as a volunteer fireman you will have a fantastic opportunity to do this almost daily.

There is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than being able to work as a volunteer, and also knowing that you are a highly valuable asset to your community.

An opportunity to build more than friendships:

When you are working as a firefighter, the chances are very high that you will meet with other like-minded individuals and this allows you to create lasting friendships as well as strong professional networks.

Volunteer firefighting is a great way to strengthen and expand your professional network. When the time comes to seek a professional reference, someone to help you out with a project or something similar, or even a career recommendation, you will have potentially endless people and accomplished experts to turn to.

Your circle grows even stronger and bigger when you regularly attend firefighting community events where you get to interact with all kinds of people. And all these people can be your great source of help when you need it the most.

A sense of pride:

As a volunteer firefighter, you will benefit from a sense of accomplishment, pride as well as an achievement that comes with the type of work you’ll do.

You will learn new skills from the best firefighting experts, make new friends, be part of a dedicated department, give back to your community, become a pillar and make a real difference in the community where you live.

You will earn more respect from people within your community because you work for their safety and overall welfare. What’s more, your primary mission will be to make a major difference in the lives of the people, and such a rare accomplishment will likely give you an immeasurable sense of pride and satisfaction.

A flexible schedule ideal for work-life balance:

If you didn’t know, when you become a volunteer fireman you have much more control over the amount of commitment and involvement you would want to offer the department.

Fire departments and stations usually design flexible working schedules for their firefighters that allow you to take part in other activities.

Typically, they offer hours for monthly commitments for volunteers. And it is upon you to actually choose the best schedule that suits you. This, of course, gives you a great opportunity to involve yourself in other paying jobs and also carry out your daily family responsibilities.

Opportunity for career growth:

As we previously mentioned, while recruiting career firefighters, most fire departments often give preference to candidates who have previous experience in fire or EMS.

Whether you are a rookie firefighter, new to the world of public safety or boast tons of experience, volunteer firefighting offers advanced to basic rescue, fire, leadership and EMS courses through state and federal programs.

These courses are free of charge to active members of fire departments and provide an opportunity for progression through various operations, ranks and roles.

It is also important to note that the valuable and extensive training you get as a volunteer firefighter not only helps you in your career growth, but in your personal life as well.

Some of the areas you will encounter are sure to include hazardous materials, fire investigation, firefighting and rescue skills, operating the available fire apparatus, conflict resolution, wild-land fire awareness and response and emergency operations.

Simply put, being a volunteer fireman enhances every aspect of your life.

Financial aid:

Even though volunteer firefighters technically don’t get routine monthly paychecks, they usually do receive some form of financial aid to help compensate them for their service.

Your fire department knows and understands that you not be able to get the time to engage in other paid jobs and have to carter for transportation costs to respond to your work station.

Though the actual reimbursement is likely to vary from one state to another and from department to department, volunteer fire professionals normally receive some amount of payment that is based on call responses.

It is also worth to mention that fire departments and stations usually provide numerous tuition reimbursement programs to their volunteers.

You will also may be given some cash for attending meetings and pieces of training as well as for the amount of time spent on shifts. However, the amount of reimbursement is usually at the discretion of the fire department.

These are just seven benefits to becoming a volunteer firefighter. Volunteer firefighters play a significant role in the fire service and this is why they are in high demand nationwide.

You have every reason to apply for a volunteer firefighter position, especially if you are physically fit, have a relevant educational background and don’t have any criminal record. And who knows, you could even be offered a full-time firefighter position based on your performance.

For more information on volunteer firefighting check out the National Volunteer Firefighting Council here.