Brief Volunteer FF History
More than two and a half centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay titled: “Brave Men at Fires”. This is what he said: “Neither cold, nor darkness will deter good people from hastening to the dreadful place to quench the flame. They do it not for the sake of reward or fame; but they have a reward in themselves, and they love one another”.
The man who established the first volunteer fire department also invented bifocals, wrote, and printed “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, studied electricity and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. His name was Benjamin Franklin. After an extensive fire in Philadelphia in 1736, Franklin created a fire brigade called The Union Fire Company with 30 volunteers. Some famous Americans who served as volunteer firefighters were: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Barry, Aaron Burr, Benedict Arnold, James Buchanan and Millard Fillmore.
Stevens County Fire Protection District #1 is a combination fire district that relies on the participation of full-time, part-time, and volunteer staff. We provide 24/7 fire suppression, technical rescue, and emergency medical services across our 375 square mile response area. Our volunteer staff work side-by-side with our career staff to ensure adequate staffing for any situation.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old, in good physical condition, have a valid driver’s license and be free of any serious criminal convictions. The application process is pretty straightforward. After submitting the basic application, the fire district will complete a criminal background and driver’s license check on all applicants. A physical examination is then scheduled. After those results are returned to us, a physical agility test and oral interview will be scheduled. The names of candidates successfully completing all phases of this review process are then referred to our Board of Fire Commissioners, who will confirm their membership and authorize them to begin training.
Besides having the satisfaction of serving your community (and being in some very exclusive company) the Fire District provides all safety equipment and required training. Volunteers that meet their monthly shift expectation are compensated for all shifts worked during that period. Members will also receive a reimbursement stipend twice a year, based on the number of trainings and responses they participate in during that period. Fire District 1 provides disability and life insurance, a free LifeFlight membership, all required uniforms and equipment, as well as the opportunity to earn benefits in a State-wide retirement program.
Recruit training is challenging and comprehensive. Recruit firefighter / EMT’s will complete an 11-week recruit fire academy, a 120-hour EMT school, as well as 40 hours of wildland fire training in their first 12 to 18 months of service. Trainings are scheduled for evenings and weekends to better accommodate the personal schedules of our volunteers and Fire District 1 will pay for all District mandated training and the supplies needed to complete that training.
Upon becoming a member of Fire District 1, recruits are expected to meet the monthly standards for shift assignments and training participation. Recruits serve as probationary members until completing the training cycle outlined above, after which they will be evaluated and considered for permanent membership. Permanent members off probation can elect to participate in our Career Development program which can serve as a pathway to part-time and full-time employment in the Fire Service.
Stevens County Fire District 1 accepts applications for new volunteers throughout the year. Recruiting cycles are set to coincide with our training academies. If you think you have what it takes, are up to a life-changing challenge, and might be interested in serving, or if you just have questions about this opportunity, please give our district office a call at 509-233-8874. We’d be happy to tell you more!
Times have changed since old Ben was at the helm; what hasn’t changed is the dedication of those who serve our community protecting lives and property. Please be sure and thank a volunteer the next time they help you. We could not operate without them.