The heroism showed by volunteers, veterans, retired police officers and firefighters in New Jersey and New York during Hurricane Sandy is what gives us hope as human beings that there is something better and good in all of us. It was a sight for sore eyes indeed to see many neighbors looking out for each other and volunteers saving lives. In such times, many wonder how they can help as volunteer firefighters since they lack the training. The good news is that with a short course or training as a volunteer firefighter, you too can chip in with confidence during a time of need like Hurricane Sandy.
Training to become a volunteer firefighter
To become a volunteer firefighter you are required to complete more than hundred hours of training and have to undergo a course that is certified by the National Volunteer Fire Council. There is an age requirement that varies from fire department to department. Some of the fire departments allow younger people to apply for their program. Also, some programs are available for younger members which allow them to shadow the firefighters in order to get an exposure to the real job which will help them make up their minds if this is what they really want to do.
How can you apply?
Once you have made up your mind to become a volunteer firefighter you have to identify your local firefighter program agency. This is because not all fire departments have a volunteer program. So it is up to you to call your local fire departments and narrow down the one that has a volunteer program. Sometimes, the firefighters might let your go with them on a couple of occasions to give you a bird’s eye into the life of a firefighter. This is a good option to take advantage of before you commit yourself to the program because being a volunteer firefighter requires a lot of commitment and dedication
You have to undergo and pass a physical training test in order to become a volunteer firefighter. It is recommended that you start training for it before appearing for the test. If you contact the fire department you can get a list of the standards that they are expecting for you to achieve physically and you will also get suggestions about the kind of exercises that will help you achieve it.
Number of volunteer hours required
The volunteer hours required will vary from fire department to department but they do have a minimum number of hours that are required from volunteer firefighters every month. It would be a good idea to find out that information to make sure you have to the time to commit and whether it will suit your lifestyle. If you want a career as a firefighter then this is the best way to start a career and your experience as a volunteer firefighter will surely pave your way when you are ready for a full time career as a firefighter.
Volunteer firefighters are not paid but they are reimbursed a certain amount of money if they respond to calls, do extra shifts and also during training which is solely at the discretion of the fire department. This money is tax free.
There are many certifications that you can apply for and complete online which will help you as a volunteer firefighter. You will come in contact with many people who need basic life support services and may be undergoing cardiac emergencies. So it is helpful for you to go for certifications which will qualify you to help out during such emergencies.
Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) are all very valuable certifications that you can master in the comfort of your home as they are available online. You will receive your certification card in the mail after completing the course successfully. If you are interested in enrolling in these courses that will help you as a volunteer firefighter you can check them out at HealthEd Solutions.
Article written and published by Sun Maag. Visit Healthedsolutions.com for AHA online classes, bls for healthcare providers classes and more.