ABOUT VWS2022-08-02T18:29:04-05:00

About VWS

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

firefighter volunteers

As part of the VWS program, the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association (TFCA) provides marketing material, training and support to participating departments to assure the success of their recruitment and retention campaigns. In addition, the TFCA provides leadership and recruitment and retention seminars throughout the state of Tennessee as part of the VWS program. Data collected from the VWS program will be used to identify best practices and to contribute to the fire service’s body of knowledge related to recruitment and retention.

The VWS Program also offers participating departments assistance with basic firefighter entry level training courses as well as NFPA 1582 physicals for new recruits for volunteers. 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.

In addition to marketing material and training, the VWS program offers departments GIS based reports to assist in their recruitment efforts. The GIS-based methods utilize community-level profile data (Tapestry Data) derived from analyzing current firefighters and identifying the personal characteristics of future firefighter candidates. These data and characteristics help establish and identify the methods to best communicate with and recruit potential firefighters. The Tapestry Data allows departments to utilize solid information to custom build a recruitment plan to meet their specific needs.

Our Mission

We’ve set out to help fire departments recruit members, and to point potential volunteers in the direction of a department that fits their need.

What We Do

Working with an initial group of fire departments, VWS helps create marketing materials, studies the demographics of the local region and their department members and customizes items needed to assist in reaching out to potential members.

Our Supporters

The Volunteer Workforce Solutions program is funded through a FEMA SAFER grant. Program partners include the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Learn More About Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter

What are the benefits for becoming a volunteer?2022-02-28T08:29:38-06:00

In most departments you will receive free training, free uniforms and worker’s compensation if you get hurt. Some departments also offer personal property tax exemptions and live-in programs.

If you become a volunteer firefighter, you will inevitably gain new skills that can be used in current and future jobs and on your resume to better market yourself for future opportunities.

As a member of your local volunteer fire department, you will gain a sense of pride, camaraderie, respect and service to your community. You will touch the lives of those in the community that depend on you to be the best trained and equipped member possible.

Become a guardian of your community by volunteering today!

Who can be a volunteer firefighter?2022-02-28T08:28:05-06:00

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. Fire departments need volunteers with various types of knowledge, skills and abilities. Volunteers can include operational members, to include firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), auxiliary members and administrative members.

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?2022-02-28T08:28:12-06:00

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.

What is the first step to volunteering?2022-02-28T08:28:48-06:00

Contacting your local fire department and expressing your interest in joining.

Please fill out our online form here 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.

Do volunteer firefighters get paid?2022-02-28T08:31:26-06:00

Volunteer firefighters do not get paid, but some departments do reimburse volunteers for their time. Reimbursement is usually a small amount of tax-free money for time spent on shifts, training and responding to calls. The amount is usually at the discretion of the department. Contact your local department to find out more regarding their volunteer reimbursement policies.

What kind of training do I need?2022-02-28T08:31:03-06:00

Once you sign up to be a member, you will need to be trained for your role within the department. Training requirements vary by state, locality, and department. The time investment 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 little to no cost to the individual.

In general, volunteers should expect to be asked to complete certification training for one or more of the following: CPR, Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Mayday/Rapid Intervention Team (RIT), Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, Hazmat Operations, Wildland Firefighter

Contact your local department to learn what training they require.

Should I start physical training before applying to volunteer?2022-02-28T08:30:37-06:00

It is not necessary, but a training program will likely help you achieve the physical standards required by your department.

How many hours do volunteer firefighters work?2022-02-28T08:30:00-06:00

Many departments require a minimum number of volunteer hours per month; these vary by department.

Any questions can be directed to vws@iafc.org. Thank you for your interest.

Are you interested in volunteering at a volunteer fire department? Fill out our Volunteer Now interest form and you will be put in touch with the appropriate department.

Volunteer Now
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