About half of the firefighters/emergency medical technicians (EMT) you see in Whatcom County Fire District 7 (WCFD7) firetrucks and aid vehicles arriving at car crashes, medical emergencies and fires are volunteers.
With this much dependence on volunteers, there is always a need for new volunteer applicants since it is expected existing volunteers will encounter life changes that make it difficult to continue their service.
Two volunteer programs are available. Applicants 21 to 70-years-old can apply to the Volunteer Firefighter program and applicants 16 to 20-years-old can apply to the Fire Cadet program.
There is no difference in certification between career (paid) and volunteer firefighter/EMTs. Both are fully trained and state-certified and WCFD7 pays for the training.
Prerequisites for applying as a volunteer firefighter include:
- Must be 21-70 years of age
- Possess a valid Washington State drivers license
- Live within a reasonable distance to any of the 6 WCFD7 stations
- Have a negligible criminal history
Other requirements include passing
- a written exam
- a physical agility test
- oral board interview
- an interview with a Chief
- a doctor physical
- The Whatcom County Fire Recruit Academy
- approximately 184 hours of training over a couple months of weekday evening and weekend day classes
Volunteer Firefighters/EMTs will be able to
- Be reimbursed for every alarm and/or training they attend
- currently $9 for every alarm and every approved training
- Attend medical courses
- For example, First Responder and Emergency Medical Technician courses
- WCFD7 will pay the costs of these courses
Prerequisites for applying as a Fire Cadet include:
- Must be 16-20 years of age
- 2.0 gpa (if of school age)
- A completed application
- Acceptance into WCFD7 basic firefighter training
- Completion of an oral review
- Completion of a background check
Fire Cadet volunteers will be able to
- Assist at fire scenes including command post and clean up
- Ride along with staff up to 6 hours a month
- Participate in on-going training
- Be registered with the State of Washington Board for Volunteer Firefighters
More details and application forms for both volunteer programs are available at the WCFD7 website. Interested applicants can call (360) 384-0303 to learn more.