ABOUT VWS2023-09-26T09:50:26-04:00

About VWS

The Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) helps improve volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention.

firefighter volunteers

As part of the Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) Program, the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association (VFCA) provides marketing material, education and training and support to departments throughout the commonwealth of Virginia to assure the success of their respected recruitment and retention campaigns. In addition, VFCA offers support with leadership and recruitment and retention workshops. Data collected from the VWS program will be used to show volunteer membership trends, training needs, etc.

In addition to marketing material and training, the VWS Program offers departments with assistance with basic firefighter entry level training courses as well as NFPA 1582 physicals for new recruits, funding and delivering of a Fire Officer Academy for volunteers, and scholarship assistance to the Virginia Fire Rescue Conference. These resources will allow departments to have potential volunteers be fully adept in handling daily operations as well as increasing the safety in their community.

Our Mission

To help fire departments recruit potential volunteers and to assure that they become operationally trained and are physically fit to protect their communities.

What We Do

Assisting and providing support to fire departments in recruitment and retention efforts statewide. VWS helps create marketing materials, training, and support for departments who seek to recruit potential volunteers.

Our Supporters

The Virginia Volunteer Workforce Solutions program is made possible by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association and the FEMA SAFER Grants.

Learn More About Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter

Who can be a volunteer firefighter?2020-03-30T18:36:56-04:00

If you have the desire to serve and help your community, you can be a volunteer firefighter. You don’t need any prior experience; you will receive the training you need when you join the department. Your local department will likely have specific requirements, such as a minimum age or background check, but these vary by department. If you want to help your community in ways few can, become a volunteer firefighter today.

What qualifications do I need to become a volunteer firefighter?2023-09-27T06:44:06-04:00

This varies greatly from department to department. All departments have a minimum age requirement, though some allow younger members to enroll as ‘explorers’ or junior volunteer firefighters. Most departments also have a physical testing requirement, testing procedures vary from department to department.

What is the first step to volunteering?2023-09-27T10:04:00-04:00

Contacting your local fire department and expressing your interest in joining is the first step to volunteering.

Please fill out our online form if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter or volunteering in any capacity at your local fire department. Upon completing the form, your information will be routed to the appropriate department.

Thank you for your interest.

Do volunteer firefighters get paid?2020-03-30T18:39:19-04:00

Volunteer firefighters do not get paid, but they can get reimbursed. Reimbursement is usually a small amount of tax-free money for time spent on shifts, responding to calls and training. The amount is usually at the discretion of the department.

What kind of training do I need?2020-03-30T18:40:50-04:00

Once you sign up to be a firefighter or EMT, you will need to be trained. Training requirements vary by state, locality, and department. The time investment in training depends on the level of training and certifications your specific department requires. Fire departments typically provide or arrange for volunteer personnel to receive all required training at no cost to the individual.

In general, volunteers may be asked to complete certification training for one or more of the following: Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Emergency Medical Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, Hazmat Awareness, Hazmat Operations, Traffic Incident Management, Wildland Firefighter.

Contact your local department to learn what training they require.

Should I start physical training before applying to volunteer?2020-03-30T18:42:01-04:00

Yes, a training program will likely help you achieve the physical standards required by your department. Contact your local department for a recommended list of exercises.

How many hours do volunteer firefighters work?2020-03-30T18:42:55-04:00

Many departments require a minimum number of volunteer hours per month. The exact amount of volunteer hours varies by department.

Ready to become a volunteer firefighter?

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