Think about the last time the local fire department came to your home or business, or the last time they directed you around a wreck on the interstate. There’s a pretty big chance that at least some of those people weren’t being paid for the work they were doing; they were volunteer firefighters.
The reasons for becoming a volunteer firefighter are as varied as the men and women who choose to volunteer, but include following in a parent’s footsteps, a desire to help and improve the community, a need for something exciting, or a desire for positive role models. Regardless of the reasons for volunteering, volunteer firefighters provide valuable services for their communities including responding to medical calls (approximately half of all volunteer firefighters have an EMT certification), traffic control, and rescue work, which includes everything from people stuck in elevators to vehicle extrication, as well as preparing landing zones for emergency helicopters.
Volunteer firefighters are highly dedicated, usually spending a minimum of about 35 hours per month on training, meetings, and responding to calls. Many have been volunteering for ten or more years, and plan to continue volunteering for many more years.