Becoming a volunteer with Southwest VFD is one of the most rewarding and selfless decisions you can make. Volunteer firefighters and their support staff prevent and put out fires, administer first aid, and respond to other emergencies within our communities. Today, volunteers make up 55% of all active firefighters.
Before diving into an intensive training program with us, it’s important you’re sure about becoming a volunteer firefighter or support staff. While some individuals may find battling fires, aiding in search and rescue efforts, and providing emergency medical services fulfilling and exciting, volunteer firefighting can be taxing and isn’t for everyone. To better understand if becoming a volunteer firefighter is for you, ask yourself the questions bellow.
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be an excellent fit for a career as a volunteer firefighter.
Even for volunteer roles, Our fire department sets general requirements to help mitigate risks for all parties involved. Make sure you meet the following before applying.
FOR ALL NEW MEMBERS:
FOR STRUCTURE FIREFIGHTERS ONLY:
The duties of a volunteer firefighter span beyond putting out fires, responding to medical calls, and rescuing animals from trees. In reality, volunteer firefighters perform a multitude of important tasks to keep others safe, maintain our equipment, and ensure the department can continue serving their community. Some of the most common duties include:
Our volunteer firefighters respond to all types of fires in the same way as paid firefighters do. Some of our responsibilities include setting up ladders, connecting hoses to hydrants, attacking fires directly, and using methods to prevent fire spread.
Our Volunteer firefighters respond to medical emergencies and provide life saving care including CPR. We also assist EMS with medical emergencies and administer first aid for all kind of injuries. All of our volunteers receive training as emergency medical responders and some continue on to become emergency medical technicians or paramedics.
When an individual or group of people go missing or are in imminent danger, our volunteers may participate in search and rescue efforts. These may take place in bodies of water, remote spaces, wooded areas, or even urban settings. Volunteers usually work in teams to cover larger areas of ground in shorter amounts of time.
After the outbreak of a fire or in the aftermath of a large wreck, our volunteer firefighters step in to help Law enforcement reroute traffic, avoid pile-ups, and ensure that pedestrians, emergency staff, and drivers all follow safety procedures. They may set up barriers, or liaise with other firefighters or police departments to accomplish these goals.
When not responding to an emergency, Our volunteer firefighters sometimes work at the department to repair equipment, uniforms, or vehicles. Given the high levels of wear and tear that comes with this type of work, it’s not unusual for frequently used tools to require maintenance.
Fundraising represents a vital component for our fire station, and our volunteer firefighters often take part in initiatives to bring money in. Activities they may participate in include fairs, Rib sales, boot drives, cook-offs, raffles, and other events. They may also work in an administrative capacity to apply for grants.
After responding to an emergency or incident, Our volunteer firefighters must create an official report about the event to keep on file in case there are questions about what happened or if a lawsuit ensues.
Before taking the plunge and applying to work as a volunteer firefighter or support member, you probably have some questions about the process and what to expect once you begin volunteering. Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions by volunteer firefighter/support hopefuls.
The answer to this question depends on what types of training you want to do. In addition to monthly and/or quarterly training sessions for all volunteers, those just joining the force usually spend two to six months completing courses and training to learn appropriate responses to a myriad of situations commonly encountered by firefighters. Some training may be done online while other parts must be done in-person. Learners must also pass written and physical tests to demonstrate their mastery of knowledge and techniques.
Putnam county offers $8.00 a call for fire certified volunteers and $4.00 a call for support. As discussed earlier, you can have tax incentives and other benefits. While these do not translate directly into money in your pocket, they do lower your tax burden and therefore allow you to keep more of your hard earned money.
As evidenced by answers to the first question, becoming a volunteer firefighter is no easy task and it doesn’t happen overnight. Both volunteers and fire departments must put in hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars** (**expense not incurred by the individual volunteer) to produce a fully trained and prepared new recruit. A study from the International Fire Chiefs Association shows that the clothing and tools alone for each firefighter cost nearly $10,000**. (**expense not incurred by the individual volunteer)
While Our volunteer firefighters are trained in all of the same basic skills as our paid counterparts (e.g., first aid, equipment usage, safety protocol, fire management, search and rescue), our knowledge is typically not as expansive given that firefighting usually isn’t our full-time job. Aside from the basic training received during the firefighting academy, the reality is that full-time, paid firefighters continue to learn each and every day on the job. They also participate in drills and other continuing education programs that help expand their knowledge. That being said, volunteer firefighters can also bring much needed outside skills, such as building construction techniques, water access points, and other sets of knowledge they may use in their professional jobs.
Yes, several options exist for completing online volunteer firefighting training. The U.S. Fire Administration, which operates under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides the National Fire Academy for distance learning. Offering self-paced or instructor-led courses free to any emergency services or firefighter personnel, students can earn an NFA certificate after meeting all requirements. Those who already work as volunteer firefighters can also take advantage of continuing education credits.
Wondering about the perks of becoming a volunteer firefighter at Southwest Volunteer Fire Department? While not all these benefits will be offered at every fire station in Putnam County, here are a few common perks you may find when becoming a volunteer firefighter with us:
A second family
When working in life or death situations, those who serve alongside you can become more than colleagues, they become family. In addition to your work as a volunteer firefighter that bonds you together, you will also likely go through personal and professional changes that you share with your fellow volunteers.
Free training & professional development
Individuals who have never taken a safety class before can get all the training they need by becoming a volunteer firefighter with us. Our department or Putnam County will teach CPR, basic life-saving training, Emergency vehicle driver training, Fire Fighter 1 training and other training classes at no cost to the individual.
Putnam County offers a reimbursement program of $8.00 a call for certified firefighters and $4.00 a call for non certified and support staff.
Firefighters receive tax credits that help lower their tax burden.
Free last will and testament
The nonprofit foundation Wills for Heroes was set up in the aftermath of 9/11 to ensure that firefighters and other first responders can access free legal services to create living wills and powers of attorney. Today the group works nationwide to ensure America’s bravest can provide for their families.
Volunteer firefighter training equips recruits with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate emergency situations while also underscoring the immense amount of responsibility that comes along with protecting themselves, their fellow firefighters, the equipment they use, and the citizens they take a vow to serve and protect. Undergoing training can feel overwhelming when also juggling outside professional and personal responsibilities, but it helps safeguard everyone involved. Aside from initial training to join the department, even volunteer firefighters should undergo continuing education on a regular basis to stay informed on emerging best practices and procedures.
The training listed below is just some of the classes Southwest VFD and Putnam county offers to its volunteers.
This baseline level of training ensures our firefighters possess Florida State firefighter certification and the foundational knowledge/competencies needed to be on the scene and fight all types of fires. (Volunteer firefighters are required to complete this training and receive a state certification.) (support staff are not required to complete this training but are encouraged to do so.)
Designed for firefighters living in areas with large amounts of forestry, this training looks at human factors in wildland fires, wildland fire behavior, coordinating interagency responses, investigating causes, and using air-based responses. (Volunteer firefighters are required to complete this training and receive a certification.) (support staff are not required to complete this training but are encouraged to do so.)
EMR training builds on skills and competencies included in the EMT certification, teaching students about primary assessments, CPR, AED, trauma response, pharmacological intervention, and using epinephrine auto-injectors.(Volunteer firefighters are required to complete this training.) (support staff are not required to complete this training but are encouraged to do so.)
Many volunteer firefighters complete hazardous materials training, especially those working in rural areas who may not have a robust paid force. Students learn how to properly identify potentially hazardous materials and respond in a proper and safe manner. Training can take place online or in person.
This Couse provides personnel with the knowledge necessary to operate and mitigate the many risks associated with driving emergency vehicles. These training courses has a variety of requirements.(Volunteer firefighters are not required to complete this training and receive a certification but are encouraged to do so..) (support staff are not required to complete this training but are encouraged to do so.)
You can print a hard copy of the application and turn it in to the station personally or download a copy fill it in on the computer and upload it using the link below
We love our prospect volunteers, so feel free to visit during normal business hours.
3409 Park Street, Palatka, Florida 32177, United States