The skills you will learn as a volunteer firefighter are valuable assets if you want to become a career firefighter. Fire chiefs regard volunteer firefighters as perfectly trained candidates for careers in firefighting [source: Volunteer FD].
Volunteer Firefighter Duties
While specific duties may vary from state to state and from town to town, many of a volunteer firefighter's duties are the same as those performed by a career firefighter. Even though volunteer firefighters do not live and work in a firehouse like career firefighters, they carry out the same kinds of emergency response duties and non-emergency tasks [source: SCCFD].
Emergency firefighting duties are both challenging and physical. In emergency situations, volunteer firefighters should expect to extinguish and prevent fires as well as administer first aid [source: Grafton Volunteer Fire Department]. Duties also include rescuing victims from cars or buildings, carrying fire hoses up stairs or ladders, and breaking down doors. Volunteer firefighters usually perform all of these tasks while wearing heavy protective clothing in dangerous, smoky and hot environments [source: Grafton Volunteer Fire Department].
But volunteer firefighters do not spend all of their time under pressure in dangerous emergency situations. Non-emergency tasks include performing various routine tasks around the firehouse, such as maintaining the building facilities and emergency vehicles and giving firehouse tours [sources: Grafton Volunteer Fire Department, City of Sun Prairie]. Volunteer firefighters must also set aside time for further training so that they can practice and thoroughly understand firefighting procedures, operational techniques and first aid methods.
If you are interested in learning how to work well under pressure and practice firefighting and first aid techniques, read the next page to find out what kinds of requirements you must meet in order to become a volunteer firefighter.