FAQ: Let Us Help You Imagine Yourself as Our Next Volunteer Firefighter
When new members start volunteering for the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company, they don’t regret joining—they regret not joining sooner. A lot of volunteers report hearing about the company—from a postcard, a neighbor, or seeing the company members at the 4th of July Parade. They imagine what it would be like to join the company, give it thought, and let it linger in the back of their brains until the next time it comes up. If you have always wondered whether you can and should join, but you put up imaginary barriers in your brain, then let our most recent class of volunteers help clear those obstacles out of the way with some solid information about their experiences joining the department last year!
What is the commitment expectation?
“We are told that family comes first, job second, and the company third. With that being said, this commitment must always be in the top three. Most of the company works day jobs so the expectations are built around that.” -Max
“I balance it through having everything on a schedule but making that schedule flexible as well if needed. I go to calls when I am available. Having family support is also a major factor.” -Brian
“At times it can be difficult, but when I am able to make a call it changes my entire mindset and just puts me into a different world where I have only one focus, to save lives and property. Something about that just helps with the balancing act, knowing that feeling will be there for the next call.” -Steven
What are the requirements?
The basic requirements are: must be 21+ years old. Must live within a mile of the service area. Other than that, the company provides all of the resources you need.
“Honesty and integrity are important qualities for a member, as well as dedication to service and the desire to take ownership of a task within a team setting. Come with the ability to take constructive criticism and willingness to constantly learn. Also, you’ll make a great firefighter if you are ready to easily adapt to change and enjoy volunteerism in many capacities.” -Zach
“The best volunteers bring dedication, tenacity, drive…and a healthy bit of courage.” -Jeffrey
“Everything from the training to the gear is provided. All you need to do is dedicate the time and the fire department will provide the rest.” -Richard
“There is a massive amount to learn and skills to develop. The company does an amazing job of structuring it into digestible and manageable chunks. They have an effective process to help keep you on track.” -Dave
Speaking of training…what is training like?
“I had never heard of a volunteer fire department and was surprised to learn that the majority of firefighters in America are volunteers. I thought a volunteer group might learn some basics and help support the department. I never would have guessed we would get the same training and certifications as career firefighters and be capable of responding to emergencies and fires.” -Michelle
“It was a surprise that all Basic Fire Operations certification training is done in house. Having previously attended fire academy with my last department, I know the time commitment for a full academy can be difficult and dissuade many from joining. It’s great that training is done in house and prepares everyone for the rigors of the fire service.” -Russ
“Training is hard but not impossible. It requires commitment. The most rewarding thing about it is the team work and learning new skills that you never imagined before.” -Sebastian
“The fire department teaches you everything you need to know from a simple hand tool to a complex apparatus. Some days you’re out driving the rigs around town and other days you are in full PPE going through drill houses full of smoke.” -Richard
“It’s hard—it will push you just as far as you’ll let it, but it’s always worth it. We don’t train until we get it right, we train until we can’t get it wrong.” -Max
Still wondering if it’s for you?
The best way to get a feel for it is to talk to current volunteers to truly understand what it’s like. “Speak to other volunteers and be clear on the commitment you are making—both time and physically,” says volunteer Doug.
“Come to move then a few meet and greets and talk to both members and probationary members to get a feel for it,” says volunteer Matt. “Then absolutely have an honest conversation with your loved ones about the commitment.”
Once you are ready, dive right in. “Try it. Give it all you can and then some,” says volunteer Brian. “The feeling you get from helping out the community with the skills you are acquiring is very satisfying.”
Ready to learn more?
The biggest recruitment event of the year is right around the corner, there for you to get your questions answered to see if you can make that first step! RSVP for the Open House today!