Is being a Volunteer Firefighter really worth It? 5 things to consider

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Without Volunteer Firefighters our communities would be in trouble. They are the ones that people turn to in their time of need. Check these 5 legit reasons being a volunteer firefighter is absolutely worth it. 

Originally Published Dec 2018

It’s great that we have Volunteers- I mean the world would literally burn without them (or find the money to get it done!) 2020 has shown us that we are grossly underprepared for everything. From Wildfires, to hurricanes to pandemics.

Firefighters are the people you call when you need help- they are the ones to get the job done! Is it surprising to learn then that the majority of firefighters are volunteers? That’s right, over 70% of Firefighters in the United States are volunteer.

I know it shocked me, I thought for sure that more career fireman would be employed across the nation, but for some towns and counties that just isn’t an option. 

That is why Volunteer Firefighters are so important. If they don’t have the training requirements and the willingness to save strangers then those people might not be saved in their time of need.

This can be a meaningful and important way to serve your neighbors and the community you love. 

Sadly, the number of volunteers have decreased over the last several decades.

Why? There’s lots of theories out there, but it ultimately comes down to less people signing up. Some people just don’t see that being a volunteer firefighter is totally worth it! let’s look at a few of the reasons below!  

And while there aren’t tons of resources online for volleys, There are some pretty great accounts to follow on Instagram and several good podcasts!

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1. Volunteer Firefighting has never been

AND it never will be ‘just a job’


Being a Volunteer Firefighter is nothing short of amazing. Yes, you have days and calls that are less than exciting but the important calls more than make up for the simple calls you might run. 

The best part, since it isn’t a job, you have a little more flexibility with the schedule and hours.  Plus, you will also have periods of time where you don’t have many calls.

While most places don’t pay you for your work (though some do), a lot of places offer a pension plan for your retirement!

Some other places offer health benefits. The opportunities are there if you look for them, call around and see what volunteer firefighter perks are available near you!  

If your interested in a real life account of life lessons and stories about being a volunteer firefighter, I highly recommend this book, Thoughts on Fire. This compelling read, Dr. Frank shares his insights into the life of a professional who volunteers on the side.

His experience has been priceless in the quest to find himself and help others. It was never a job to him- he gained far more valuable experience and then shared it with the world in his book. 

If you need some more compelling motivation to join up with firefighters, save these motivational quotes as inspiration. You are the only one stopping yourself!

2. You are there for people when no one else is

These brave volunteers step in to make sure that time doesn’t win. 

You are literally the link between good and bad. Sometimes this means taking calls at 3 am after a full day of work or on a holiday. But you’ll find in the grand scheme of things, that helping other people is worth more than a few hours sleep. 


The Video above is just a simple example of the type of peace and comfort that a firefighter can bring to someone. When you are in a volunteer capacity it generally means that paid help is farther away and seconds matter.

Unless you dislike helping people in emergency situations, then maybe doing some other easier volunteering would be better choice for you. We don’t want you to get on scene and wig out when shit gets real. 

Volunteer Firefighter Worth It

3. Volunteer Firemen get to be a part of the brotherhood 

Maybe you’ve heard about how dedicated firefighters are to the cause, maybe you live under a rock… Seriously, firefighters are all about the brotherhood

When you become a volunteer, you become one of them. This isn’t just volunteer firefighter memes and instagram pics.  

You also don’t do it for some shirt. You are now part of an elite group of humans who dedicate their lives to other people (and really awful jokes).

Chances are, you’ll also become family with some really helpful people in the community and some amazing cooks (because food is life!!). 

4. Volunteer Firefighter looks good on any resume or political career.


It’s a word thrown around in job interviews and college classes and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Experience is really important when it comes to nailing that once in a lifetime position. Without it, you risk getting passed up for a position that you are qualified for but lack in time on the truck.

Being a volunteer looks incredible on a resume. It looks incredible in the eyes of the public. And maybe even better? It will help you with the leadership, humility and real world experience. It isn’t just a word of a piece of paper- it’s so much more than that!

Even if your dream job isn’t on a truck, your volunteer time can show other great qualities like dedication, leadership and altruism.

Some volunteers have zero desire to be a professional firefighter, and thats ok.

But don’t discredit a career job as a firefighter if you love being a being a volunteer, it’s twice the fun! Or stick with your career job and volunteer on that side. That my friends, is the best of both worlds. 

Don’t let life pass you by, get the hours you need for your dream job by being a volunteer. 

5. Did I mention? 

You get to be a badass.

Strong and brave Firefighter Going Up The Stairs in Burning Building. Stairs Burn With Open Flames.

Hello busting down doors, flying in a firetruck and fighting fire. Need I say more? It’s a good day when no one gets hurt, but it sure can be exciting when you get to be a superhero and save someone from a life or death situation.

Yes, when you are a volunteer you are considered a real firefighter. Anyone who does this is considered ‘real’ and I don’t give two hoots what keyboard warrior Kevin thinks in his mom’s basement.

This means that you do real things, like saving lives and using equipment- it’s not a play job. 

Some people don’t really understand how “real” volunteer firefighting is. I definitely recommend that you speak with some volunteer firefighters at the department you would like to volunteer (or a friend or relative) so you can understand how important this job is.

The movies don’t quite do it justice, but if you like to read kindle books, I highly recommend Fire Chief: The Story of a Volunteer Firefighter for a real life look into a 14 year veterans perspective on the job.

It’s well worth the read! And SO important. No matter what you call yourself- when you’ve done the training, but in the hours, and donned your gear- you’re in it to save lives. That’s the real prize.

Getting started with being a volunteer Firefighter

You can dive into the nitty gritty details about becoming a volunteer firefighter in this post, but there are some other pre reqs that would be good to look into.

For one, you should call up your local non emergency number (please, don’t dial 911, the dispatchers will not be kind if you ask about volunteer firefighting) and see about options local to you.

Then, I’d recommend you check out some of these free options to get a taste of the fire life. These instagram fire accounts and these really good podcasts for firefighters are a great place to start.

If you are a book reader, (and books are givers, not takers like the majority of social media posts) there’s several options you can grab at the library or on amazon.

Namely the book all rookies should read, and this book that will get you Firefighter buff (kidding, but also kinda not) since being in shape will save your ass and your crew more than you’d realize!

Oh, and this EMT crash course book for those of you looking to get some certs!


Basically, being a volunteer firefighter is nothing short of amazing. Sure, you will have downsides, just like you would with any other job/relationship/adventure.

In general, the benefits far outweigh any negatives that might come up. Plus, it’s a skill you’ll carry with you your whole life- from volunteering in high school to volunteering in retirement. 

Pros and Cons of being a Firefighter

Pros and Cons of a fire hydrant on your property

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