How to Become a Volunteer Firefighter

Volunteer Firefighter Requirements

There are many requirements you must meet in order to become a volunteer firefighter. The type of requirements and number of steps in the application process vary from state to state. You will need to check with your nearest fire department to determine its application process. However, no matter what the application process is, there are some similarities across each state's requirements.

The typical application process begins with a few standard qualifications. Most fire departments require that you be at least 18 years of age or older. You must have a valid driver's license from the state in which you live as well as the legal right to work in the U.S. You should also have a high school diploma or equivalent schooling. Most fire departments also require you to live within certain geographic boundaries so you can respond to local emergencies [source: City of Sun Prairie].

After you meet these initial requirements, you will go through the interview process, undergo a background check and complete a physical test. The physical tests for potential volunteers also vary from state to state, but be prepared to lift up to 70 lbs (32 kg), drag up to 180 lbs (82 kg) and crawl through tight spaces in full firefighting gear [source: SCCFD].

When you have passed the physical test, you will then need to complete a required number of training hours. After your training is complete, you should have open availability for any firefighting needs as they arise. Your position as a volunteer firefighter requires that you be responsible and dedicated to serving your community [source: Volunteer FD].

This kind of selfless service is a reward in itself, but some states and communities give back by offering tax credits to their volunteer firefighters. Read the next page to see how tax credits work for some volunteer firefighters.