FAQ’s about becoming a Volunteer Firefighter
YOU SHOULD BE: Physically Fit; Well-Coordinated; Highly Motivated; A Team Player; Committed to Continuous Learning; Mechanically Inclined.
Is there a medical evaluation? No, A medical evaluation is not required.
Is there a physical fitness evaluation? No, but you will be evaluated during your probationary period.
Is a criminal record search required? A criminal record search is required and will be completed after submitting your application.
Are references required? You must provide references.
Is this a paid position? Volunteer firefighting is not a paid occupation; however, you receive many other benefits.
Is firefighting dangerous? Yes, it is a dangerous vocation. But, we provide our volunteer firefighters with the best equipment and training to avoid and reduce the risk of injury. Our volunteer firefighters are involved in all firefighting and rescue tasks but only after receiving proper training.
Are there any physical requirements? Firefighting is a strenuous job, performed in hostile environments in extremely stressful situations. It is important that potential volunteers be capable of handling these stresses, both physically and mentally. Frequent heavy lifting and other “heavy” work is required, all the while wearing approximately 80 pounds of protective equipment. Anyone who has acrophobia (fear of heights) or claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces) would not be suitable for the job.
Do I need previous Firefighter training or experience? No, we will provide all necessary firefighting and first aid training. Any relevant past experience or training may help you in the selection process, but we do welcome applications from potential volunteers of any experience level.
Is training provided? Training’s are on every Monday night from 6:55 pm until 9:00 pm. All new firefighters participate in the Fire Service Program at the Harrisburg Area Community College Public Safety School and is paid for by the Camp Hill Fire Department Relief Association.
How much time is involved for training? 2 hours every Monday night. Occasional other Department training’s and/or training with mutual aid companies throughout the year. You will be encouraged to attend all fire and training sessions. There is no out of pocket cost to volunteer firefighter for training or equipment OTHER THAN YOUR TIME! All equipment is provided free of charge. Emergency calls may happen at any time and Firefighters are encouraged to attend 50% of all calls. We are never sure of the frequency and length of the calls but on average, our firefighters log over 200 hours per year. Both the alarms and training attendance are monitored. Sometimes due to job or illness there can be allowance but each case is judged on its merits.
What training will I receive? The volunteer firefighter will be provided the following programs:
Level I Firefighting Program, 175 hours of theory and practical received at Shumaker Public Safety School on the Harrisburg Area Community College Campus.
- Intro to the Fire Service (16 hours)
- Haz-Mat Awareness (4 hours)
- Fire Ground Support (32 hours)
- NIMS IS-700 & ICS-100 – online (5 hours)
- Exterior Firefighting (56 hours)
- Haz-Mat Operations (24 hours)
- Interior Firefighting (40 hours)
Other training opportunities:
- First Aid & CPR training – required
- Vehicle Rescue
In addition, specialized programs are offered as they become available, or time allows.
How much time is involved for fire & emergency calls? The Camp Hill Fire Department responds to approximately 400 Emergency Calls each year. On the average, each of these calls is about 1 hour in duration, but obviously some are less and some are much more.
What equipment is furnished? As a volunteer firefighter you will be equipped with the following, owned by the Fire Department. 1 only voice pager & charger; 1 set of Bunker Gear (Turnout Coat & Pants); 1 firefighter’s helmet, gloves & nomex balaclava; 1 pair of firefighters bunker boots; 1 Dress Uniform as per Department Policy; Your Class B uniform, will not be ordered until you are an Active Member as per the policy.
Is there compensation or insurance coverage? There is comprehensive life, disability and liability insurance coverage policies for volunteers. Workers Compensation: As a volunteer firefighter, you are covered under Workers Compensation from the moment you leave your home or place of business RESPONDING TO AN EMERGENCY until you return home or your place of business.
Life & Disability Insurance: As a volunteer firefighter, the Camp Hill Fire Department purchases a separate Accidental Death & Injury Plan, as well as a Life Insurance Plan. Details of these plans will be provided to you if your application is successful and you are on Active Status.
How do I apply for a volunteer firefighter position with the Camp Hill Fire Department? Applications are available online or could be picked up at the station.
Is there any restriction to becoming a volunteer firefighter? You must have a medical exam to the Fire Departments’ Standard. You must have a criminal and driver’s license background check. You must successfully complete the physical ability evaluation. No facial hair other than a mustache. Beards are not acceptable as Self Contained Breathing Apparatus cannot be safely worn. In addition, hair must be kept at collar length for one simple reason: any hanging below can be burned!
What happens if I don’t meet the requirements? If you don’t successfully meet the requirements of the physical ability test or medical you may apply again in the future.
If I am successful when will I become a member of the Fire Department? The Camp Hill Fire Department members will vote you in at the next business meeting after you submitted your application. Business meetings are held on every second Friday of the month. Once you are accepted, a member of the Recruitment Committee will contact you.
When do I start going on fire calls? You will start out as a fresh probationary member. Untrained, but raring to go. Once you are assigned your gear and become familiar with the apparatus and equipment, you will be able to go on the fire calls. You will report to the firehouse for calls. You will also be assigned a mentor to assist you in the familiarization of equipment and the standard operating procedures. Part of your training is on the job and you gain the most experience by responding to calls. For safety reasons, you will not be able to go inside of a structure fire until you are certified as a Fire Fighter I. This certification is gained through the successful completion of the Firefighter I state program, approximately 175 hour practical and classroom training course. You will generally be sponsored for this course after you have completed 6 months of probationary training with the company.
Now, after I have earned the Fire Fighter I certification and am ready to go, is there anything else that I need to think about?
Yes, now you will be called to fire calls at anytime, day or night. You will carry a pager during the day, and you will have it when you sleep. There is no getting away from it. If you have a family, there is no way for them to not be effected as well. They will probably listen to every page, and upon your return, meet you at the door to hear what happened. On the other hand, every time you have to leave a birthday party, dinner, of jump out of bed in the middle of the night, they will also be effected. This is something that you should discuss with your family so that everyone knows what is expected of you. This may not be easy, but if you come home and your family is in front of the scanner listening to the call, you are probably all set. Talk with your family before you make the commitment. It is much easier on you and them if everyone supports your decision.