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Volunteer Program Frequently Asked Questions

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Where will I volunteer?
Will I be paid for my service?
Will personal protective equipment (PPE) be provided by SDCFA?
I am interested in a career in the fire service. Will volunteering with SDCFA help me achieve this goal?
How much time should I expect to volunteer and train each month?
What is my commitment if I’m accepted as a volunteer?
I’m also interested in paramedic school. Will I be able to go to paramedic school while serving in the SDCFA Volunteer Program?
How do I become a Certified EMT/Paramedic with the County of San Diego?
Where can I get more information on obtaining the required fire training and certifications?
Can I acquire any of the required certifications online?

Where will I volunteer?

Volunteers serve at contract fire stations. The stations are located throughout inland San Diego County. See a map of the stations here.

Will I be paid for my service?

No. However, a stipend to help with the costs associated with volunteering (e.g., uniforms, transportation to the stations, meals at the station) may be provided.

Will personal protective equipment (PPE) be provided by SDCFA?

Yes. SDCFA provides all PPE for volunteer firefighters including, but not limited to:  turnouts, helmets, wildland gear, fire shelters, and goggles. Station and training uniforms are not provided.

I am interested in a career in the fire service. Will volunteering with SDCFA help me achieve this goal?

Yes. While SDCFA cannot possibly guarantee you will be hired as a paid firefighter after volunteering in the program, several former volunteers have been hired as paid firefighters by other agencies. In general, the SDCFA Volunteer Program is a great opportunity for individuals to receive training and accumulate experience in fire service.

How much time should I expect to volunteer and train each month?

You should minimally expect to serve three 24-hours shifts monthly. In addition, you will be required to attend training nights or days which are held approximately four times monthly.

What is my commitment if I’m accepted as a volunteer?

SDCFA incurs substantial expenses in the process of selecting, screening and training volunteers. These expenditures are expected to be recaptured through services by volunteers with SDCFA. SDCFA suffers substantial detriment if the applicant leaves volunteer service with SDCFA before completing a reasonable period of service, being deemed to be twelve (12) months from commencement of regular at-the-station service as a volunteer. During the twelve months, volunteers are expected to serve 36 24-hours shifts or the equivalent.

I’m also interested in paramedic school. Will I be able to go to paramedic school while serving in the SDCFA Volunteer Program?

Maybe, but not likely. Many volunteers in our program have attended paramedic school while attempting to stay active as a volunteer firefighter. Nearly all have found the workload of paramedic school overwhelming while trying to maintain their volunteer commitments and, as a result, have had to choose between paramedic school and volunteer service.

How do I become a Certified EMT/Paramedic with the County of San Diego?

Please contact County of San Diego Emergency Medical Services

Where can I get more information on obtaining the required fire training and certifications?

Please contact:

Miramar Fire Technology  or Southwestern College Fire Science Program

Can I acquire any of the required certifications online?

Yes. You can obtain the following certifications online:

Introduction to Incident Command System- NIMS ICS-100 (FEMA)

ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents- NIMS ICS-200 (FEMA)

Introduction to ICS- NIMS ICS-700 (FEMA)

National Response Framework- NIMS ICS-800 (FEMA)

Firefighter Training- S-130 (NWCG)

Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior- S-190 (NWCG)

Human Factors on the Fireline- L-180 (NWCG)