What does it mean to be a volunteer firefighter or emergency medical services (EMS) provider?
For some, it is a way to give back to their communities. For others, it is a way to move into a paid job in the fire or EMS field. Others see it as a way to meet friends and interact with a group of individuals who are motivated to come together to help one another. It is responding at all hours of the night and day to any number of emergencies. It is the challenge of remembering how to cut a car apart or gain access to a burning home. It is seeing your fellow humans at their worst and looking to you to help them through an event that forever will be in their memory. It is something you will never regret doing.
Almost without exception, all of your training and equipment to become a firefighter are paid for by the agency. Some pay for or reimburse the cost for emergency medical technician (EMT) training. The majority of fire departments in Oregon train to the Firefighter I standard. This level of training says you are certified to enter a burning structure without direct supervision. This does not mean that you enter the building alone, just that you do not need a supervisor (officer) with you. To reach this level takes about 80 hours usually over the course of six to twelve months. This is known as your recruit training and includes, CPR, Haz-Mat Awareness and Operations, Blood and Air Borne pathogens, as well as all the sections of fire suppression that allow you respond within the guidelines of the Occupation Safety Health Association (OSHA)Department of Health, EMS and Trauma Section and the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) as they pertain to firefighting and the delivery of emergency medical services .
The hours you dedicate to this most noble profession is dependent on the number of calls your local agency responds to and their training structure. Many departments are involved in a number of civic and fundraising activities while others are not. Some agencies respond to thousands of calls per year while others only 50. Our agency allows those interested in specialized skills to respond to those types of calls; medical, technical rescue, auto extrication or fire calls. Whatever your talents or interest, Prevention or Risk Reduction, there is a place here at Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue for you.
Call or email us for more information – you’ll be glad you did