Working Part-time or Being a Volunteer for a Fire Department

19 January 2023
Chief Brent Collins, President,

Working Part-time or being a volunteer for a Fire Department

One of the best things you can do towards becoming a full-time firefighter is to work on a volunteer department or get hired part-time on a department that uses both full- and part-time firefighters as part of their scheduling.

Many times, volunteering or working part-time will get your foot in the door to be hired by that department; however, even if that’s not the case, it looks good on your resume.  You are gaining experience on medical runs, car accidents, emergency scenes, firefighting operations, etc.

These departments may require you to be at least a Certified Firefighter and have your EMT; some departments may also require you to have your Paramedic certification.

Make sure you show initiative and that you are always willing to learn, always willing to help out, always willing to be available if there is a scheduling issue and they call you to come in to work.  This can also be a two-way street; if you make a good impression and you are going through the hiring process on another department, you will get a good recommendation from your current chief.

Remember that it works both ways – if you don’t make a good impression and aren’t available or don’t show up for mandatory training, it could have an impact on whether the department hires you or on the type of recommendation the chief gives you to another department.

It all comes down to how bad you want the job of a firefighter.  Are you willing to put the effort in to become a Certified Firefighter, an EMT or Paramedic?  Your focus needs to be almost 100% towards the goal of being hired as a full-time firefighter.  Are you willing to go that extra mile or two to show that you are the type of individual that they would like to have on their department?

When you are working for these departments, try to learn as much as possible about the day-to-day activities in the fire station, what’s in the compartments and how to use all the equipment.  Use this as a learning experience to show that you have experience already when you are trying to get on a full-time department.

Some additional advice – don’t get caught up with the firehouse gossip and politics.  Keep your mouth shut, do your job, show that you care, smile a lot. 

Good luck in your pursuit of the greatest job on the face of the earth!  Remember – luck goes to the prepared!