Frequently asked questions (FAQ's) about joining the Signal Hill Fire Department
If you're interested in serving your community, we have an opportunity for you. Our members come from all walks of life, but all of them possess the same passion, the desire to help others. In the volunteer fire service there is no pay, just a kinship amongst members and the satisfaction of making a difference because its simply the right thing to do.
A little known fact to most people is that the majority of the nation's fire service is served by volunteers. Unfortunately, dedicated volunteers are hard to find. We're happy that you're interested in helping and hope you take a few minutes to learn more about how you can help. A short video on this website shows just one aspect of what our volunteer firefighters do. Click here to view the video.
WHAT IS REQUIRED?
Members are required to attend trainings regularly and respond to emergency calls whenever possible. All new members are accepted on a mimimum 6 month probationary period. During this probationary period, members learn basic skills needed for the job and demonstrate their proficiency in those skills
WOULD YOU BE ELIGIBLE?
Applicants must live within a geographic area of the fire district. Active members from another volunteer departments are not accepted.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
Persons interested in membership must complete an application with the department
Applicants must pass a background check to be eligible for membership
CAN ANYONE BE A VOLUNTEER?
Typically, if someone is willing to volunteer their time, there is a job for them. The Signal Hill Fire Department has two levels of membership:
* An active member is a individual who responds to emergency calls
* An associate member is an individual who does not want to respond to emergency calls, but want to help the department in other ways
DO VOLUNTEERS GET PAID?
Not in a traditional sense, but in a residual way, absolutely. No one ever forgets the first call they run or the first time they helped someone in need. Volunteering in an emergency service is a rewarding experience like no other. Immediately you become part of a family of millions nationwide who are driven to help others in their time of need. Plus, if you think this may be a career choice for you there is no better way to find out.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PROFESSIONAL AND VOLUNTEER?
Professionalism is a manner in which a person acts. Volunteers represent their agency in a professional manner every day. Some may differentiate between the two as paid versus volunteer, but that is not true. The value of service and the inherent risks are no more or less if you’re paid or not.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET HURT?
The fire department carries standard workers compensation insurance to cover members in the event of an injury.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE?
Typically more time is involved in the beginning as new members learn procedures, but there will be a minimum requirement to maintain membership.
HOW WILL I GET THE TRAINING I NEED?
Regular in-house training is provided on Monday evenings and will provide you the training you’ll need. In addition, the fire department offers assistance with classes in fire science for members who attend classes at colleges and universities.
DO I HAVE TO BUY MY OWN EQUIPMENT?
The fire department will provide you with all of the protective gear (coat, pants, helmet), pager, etc. that you will need to respond to emergency incidents.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN THERE IS AN EMERGENCY?
Volunteers are issued pagers that are set off by the County’s 911 Center when there is an emergency.
I HAVE SEEN EMERGENCIES ON TV. IS THAT THE SAME AS WHAT I WILL BE DOING?
Not really. Typically in television shows you see a very small part of what is happening on an emergency scene, and sometimes the emergency is not as complicated as the storyline itself. In reality, emergency are much more complex than they appear on shows. The agencies who respond spend lots of time training their members and readying their equipment for when they’re needed. This is the unglamorous side of the job.
IS A VOLUNTEER'S CAR AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE?
While it isn’t unusual for a volunteer to respond in their personal vehicle, it is not considered an emergency vehicle and all rules of the road still apply.
HOW WOULD VOLUNTEERING EFFECT MY WORK?
Your family and your work should come before your volunteer responsibilities. The fire department is realistic about this and will make every effort to work with you. You may want to talk to your employer about volunteering so you’re familiar with their policy. Some businesses make special considerations.
WOULD VOLUNTEERING HELP ME GET HIRED BY A PAID DEPARTMENT?
That possibility does exist. There is certainly no better place to learn the ropes about fire fighting than in a volunteer department. As with any job, the person who can hit the ground running is a more attractive candidate than the person who can’t.
HOW DANGEROUS IS IT?
Due to the nature of the job there is an inherent risk, yet with proper training the risks can be minimized. Statistically, the biggest threat to emergency service workers is heart disease, followed by motor vehicle accidents.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
If you have any questions about the Signal Hill Fire Department not addressed here, feel free to contact us. We’re excited about your interest and would be happy to help you in any way possible. You may contact us at (618)397-1995 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.