Placer County fire agencies continue to seek volunteer firefighters in communities throughout the unincorporated county. Volunteers play a key role in staffing of fire stations, responding to fires and participating in calls by local residents for emergency medical assistance.
While the Placer County Fire Department was fortunate in receiving a Federal grant that will allow Station 182 in Ophir to remain open, the grant does not obviate the need for volunteer staffing in the North Auburn/Ophir area.
Depending on qualifications and the needs of a particular station, volunteers may be used either to staff stations or assist in operating fire engines or other fire apparatus. Qualified volunteers are issued personal protective equipment and a pager in order to be able to respond to calls either from home or from work. By law, volunteer firefighters must meet the same requirements in training and expectations of behavior as paid firefighters. While the volunteers are typically not paid, depending on which agency they work for they can be compensated for attending training and responding to calls.
Volunteers must complete the application process and graduate from a volunteer firefighter academy before being issued safety equipment and allowed to respond. In the unincorporated County, volunteers are needed at the Dry Creek, Paige, Sheridan, Thermalands, Fowler, Ophir, and Dutch Flat stations.
While some will use volunteer experience as a stepping stone to paid permanent employment in the fire services, others participate only to serve their communities. Regardless of motivation, all volunteers must meet performance standards, attend required training, obtain and retain necessary certificates, and meet physical requirements.
By meeting additional standards and obtaining requisite skills, volunteers can rise through the rank of firefighter, engineer or captain and, with additional training and experience, qualify for accreditation in:
- Fire Attack
- Hazardous materials response
- Technical rescue
- Emergency medical services
- Emergency vehicle operation
For information on the requirements to becoming a volunteer firefighter, please contact CAL FIRE/Placer County Fire, at 530-889-0111. The next academy is expected to be held in early 2013. However, before being enrolled in an academy, applicants must successfully complete the applicant process which can take up to several months. Those interested are encouraged to begin the process as soon as possible.