POSTED: Friday, January 17, 2014 - 7:11pm
UPDATED: Saturday, January 18, 2014 - 8:42pm
Lindale, Tx (KETK) — In Texas, 72 percent of all firefighters are volunteers. Paid firefighters and volunteers go through similar training, but through two separate organization. Volunteers use the State Fireman's and Fire Marshal's Association, or S.F.F.M.A. For paid firefighters, they are certified through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, or T.C.F.P.
KETK spoke with the Lindale Fire Department, who said the volunteer training process is extensive. Clay Williamson, Assistant Chief, said, "It's basically a self paced online or actual class, and after they have the curriculum done, they take a test". There are four different levels of volunteers. Firefighter Module 1, Module 2, followed by advanced and master firefighters. Each level requires more time and physical exertion. Williamson said, "For live fire training we'll actually set a couple rooms on fire in our burn building, and then we'll learn how to advance hose into rooms, how to reach smoke, and how to put a fire out".
This process can take anywhere from one to six months, and is very demanding. Aaron Munn, the Public Information Officer, was originally brought on board as a volunteer. Munn said during his training, 'The most demanding part of the training for me would originally be the climbing the ladders and some of the heights".
Munn eventually became a paid full-time firefighter, and shared the main difference between a paid position and volunteering, is the amount of time it takes to get certified. Munn said, "All volunteers are going to have their full time jobs. Because of that you're unable to do that Monday through Friday schedule so it takes a little longer, but you have a lot of the same requirements".
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, contact your local fire department to apply.