why do you want to be a volunteer firefighter
Just to establish at the outset Б volunteer firefighters are firefighters, full stop. It isn't a half measure, and it's not a route you go just because you aren't dedicated enough to do it full-time. They do the same job and face the same challenges. They just also do other stuff to pay the rent, mortgage, what have you Б it's not about judging. That said, if you're going to spend a fair amount of your time doing the job anyway, why aren't you doing it for your regular paycheck? Well, here are some reasons why:
1. Full-time firefighter positions can be difficult to get Assuming that the volunteer in question actually wants to be a firefighter full-time (and that's a big assumption), positions can be difficult to come by. Cities hire certain numbers of recruits at certain times, and there can be a fair amount of time between those certain times if there's a hiring freeze on. Joining your local volunteer department can be a great way to get some training and experience and make yourself a more desirable candidate the next time they are recruiting. Most volunteer departments have at least two or three members that either are applying to full-time departments or are already on full-time departments. 2. The empty nest recruit The kids are grown and off to college, but you're by no means "over the hill" yet.
A lot of parents who suddenly find themselves with a lot of free time find meaning in their lives by joining the volunteer department. They're perfectly happy with the day job they already have, but by giving their time to the community through volunteer firefighting, they find a whole new "post-kid" chapter in their lives. 3. Strong communities have citizens that form strong connections It's not at all uncommon for a volunteer department to have a solid core of firefighters who've known each other since the first day they stepped into kindergarten. They were on one another's pee-wee baseball teams and played three different sports with each other through high school. After high school, college, whatever, a good chunk of the team stayed together and joined the department. It works out well, since they've been working as a team for as long as they can remember anyway. 4. It's a great way to make a new city a home Sort of the opposite of the previous entry, this is the man or woman that moves into the community from somewhere else and finds volunteer firefighting as a way to make a tangible commitment to their new neighborhood. They didn't grow up dreaming about driving the big red truck, they're there to give back to the community that's welcoming them in. 5.
They're just a decent human being who wants to help people There are plenty of volunteer firefighters out there who are there for one reason and one reason alone Б because giving your free time to help out neighbors who are experiencing a traumatic event is just a fundamentally decent thing to do, and not something you should have to explain or apologize for. Through the years, IБve participated in numerous interviews with candidates that have applied for membership in our department. б Recently, I started thinking about the challenges of our proud volunteer fire service, and how special of a person it takes to become a professional volunteer firefighter. б In a world where there are many different kinds of people, and many different personalities and priorities, these people give their time and energy to make their communities safer. б As I pondered this for a moment, I reflected upon some of our candidate interviews. б In each interview, we ask them why they want to join our fire department, and I realized that many of their reasons for joining our service are not all that different. б These people are from all walks of life, and often with the same goalБ to help other people. б They say it in a variety of different ways, with different words, but itБs really all the same.
When I think about some of the reasons I have heard the most, I remember statements like БI want to help my communityБ, БI want to serve my townБ, and БI want to help peopleБ. б What a noble admission this is, and especially in an intimidating interview situation! б ItБs even more impressive, considering that these candidates are coming into the fire service with the understanding that firefighters can be hurt, and die, in the line of duty. б Every one of us has probably thought about that as we began our candidacy, before joining our first department. б But, over time, we tend to lose sight of the personal courage that it took for these candidates to deal with this. б This situation is not unique to us as volunteers, and transcends generations of firefighters. б In fact, FDNYБs Chief Edward F. Croker (1899 Б 1911) once stated, БWhen they join the department they face that fact. When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. Бб The interesting part here is that he made that statement over 100 years ago. Some of the other reasons that I have heard often from candidates through the years, in no particular order, are: To learn new skills.
To fulfill a family tradition (mom, dad, grandpa, uncle, was a firefighter). Interest in public safety as a potential career field. To be a part of a team. Someone in the F. D. talked to them, and they were so excited about it that it sounded pretty neat. To gain excitement and experiences. To develop a future career/build resume. To pursue firefighting as a career field. Each of these reasons is valid. б Of course, these can vary from person to person. б Many of us have had one or more of these in our minds as we began our journey to a fire service career. б ItБs important to remember these reasons from time to time, as years of evening and weekend training and departmental experiences can change our focus to the priorities at hand. б In order to retain those important volunteers, we have to make sure that they are meeting their individual goals too! When I first applied to our department, I put on my application that I wanted to join the fire service to serve my community. б In my interview, I also added that I wanted to be a part of a great team. б All these years later, I can proudly say that IБve done both of those thingsБ and many more. б And, what a great experience it has been. Why did you volunteer?
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