Q. What training is required?
A. In most areas of the state, volunteers will be trained to meet the needs of the local community at no expense to the volunteer. It is common for volunteer emergency responders to receive the same training and certifications as career firefighters and EMTs
Departments often consist of divisions that specialize in various functions, such as rescue, fire inspector, etc. Volunteers are able to participate in these specialized areas with proper training. It is common for fire and EMS services to be combined in one department, so volunteers are required to be trained in both fields.
Most departments require volunteers to obtain Firefighter I certification within the first 24 months with the fire department. EMS training is also required for those who provide patient care.
Q. What is the first step to volunteering?
A. Complete the application to express your interest in joining. Your application will be forwarded to the Fire Chief in the area of Montana in which you are interested in volunteering.
Q. Do volunteer firefighters receive compensation?
A. Compensation varies by department. Some departments do not provide any kind of payment, some provide a small stipend per call and/or training, and others provide hourly payment while responding to a call and/or attending training. Some departments also provide expense reimbursement.
Q. Can a volunteer position lead to a career in firefighting?
A. Yes. Volunteering is one of the best ways to get the necessary training and experience to be an attractive candidate for a career firefighting position.
Q. Can I become a volunteer EMT at my local fire department?
A. Maybe. Some departments have volunteer EMS programs to supplement their public services. Contact your local department to find out more.
Q. How many hours do volunteer firefighters work?
A. Many departments require a minimum number of volunteer hours per month.
Q. What’s the department structure?
A. Every department has a leader, which is typically a Chief who has been elected or hired. The Chief is usually tasked with daily operations such as budget, training, community relations, recruitment and retention, government relations, etc. It’s common for the Chief’s position to be full-time and paid, even in a volunteer department. In most situations, Chiefs appoint individuals to support the department.