May 24, 2010
Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter
Becoming a volunteer firefighter is not an easy job to do. No person can just walk into a volunteer fire department and say I am now a volunteer firefighter. There are steps and classes you have to take and pass before you can become a card holder. In order to begin the steps and classes, you need to figure out what fire department you want to be on, and go speak with them. If they have open rosters, then, they will set up your classes and trainings, if your background check comes back clear. It is important for individuals to understand what it takes to become a volunteer firefighter, and how it can affect a firefighter’s life and families.
Every fire department has to follow the rules and regulations. They must consider the various Federal and state laws and regulations that apply to fire department operations. On of the regulations they must comply with is OSHA, but OSHA is not the only legal requirements that a fire department should consider. There is a number of non-government organizations have issued voluntary consensus standards that are relevant to fire department operations. Some of these organizations include National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which many fire departments go by NFPA, then there’s American National Standards Institute(ANSI).
The class that each and every firefighter must attend and complete is a 36 hour class and training in order to become a card holder. Your training will never end once you get through your 36 hour training. There has been a new law that passes recently, where you have to have so many hours of training a year additional to be an active firefighter. If a firefighter fails to follow it, they must start everything all over again. You can never get enough training because there is never to fire the same. If any of the fire engines have air breaks you must go through a driving course, in order to be legal to drive the engine.
There is special turn out gear that you are required to wear to make any fire run. You got to have nomex fire proof bunker pants, coat, and boots, which cost on average $2000.00 for them. Then you have to have nomex gloves, which is approximately $100 to $150. You need a nomex to cover your hair, face and neck, which cost around $100. Then there is the helmet. It is a special helmet, not just a regular hard hat. It cost around $200 to $500. The higher the price the more it will protect your head. Each firefighter has to have a breathing apparatus in order to fight a fire or make entry in fire or smoke. The most commonly used is a Scott pack. Each firefighter gets two photo ID tags to keep with their gear. When they get to a fire, one tag stays on there gear, they other tag goes to the commanding post at any fire, so they know which firefighters is fighting the fire or making entry. The tags has all of the firefighters personal information such as their personal doctor and health conditions. That way if a firefighter goes down, they know what kind of treatment they can do on them, or identify the body by checking the tag on the gear.
Being a volunteer firefighter is just like having a full time job, but it does not pay you. A volunteer firefighter is on call seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. They don’t not get personal or holidays off. If they get a call they have to respond. Most volunteer firefighter do have their regular full time jobs. They may get a call in the middle of the night, fight the fire, make it back home, and get only one hour of sleep before they have to get up for work. If the firefighter is late or does not show up for work due to a call, the state protects them from getting in trouble and from possibly losing their job. Another thing a firefighter puts at risk besides his/her life is his/her family. When he/she gets called out on a fire call, the family may not hear anything till the firefighter returns home safely, if he/she returns at...
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