Become a Volunteer Firefighter

 

Are you looking for a thrilling way to contribute to your community in your spare time? Serving as a volunteer firefighter can be a rewarding, fulfilling way to serve your community. You can serve in a band of comrades, help keep the community safe and even save lives.

 

However, being a volunteer firefighter is a really big commitment. It will require training, stamina and long nights on call. If you are thinking about becoming a volunteer firefighter, here are some things to think about.

 

Are you of age?volunteer firefighter

 

Fire departments have a minimum age requirement to serve with them. This will vary depending on which department you want to work with, but generally you have to be a legal adult, which means over 21 years old. Some departments may require you to be even older. However, some departments have a “junior firefighter” program, where you can ride along in the fire truck and observe.

 

Are you in good physical condition?

 

Volunteer fire departments have tough physical condition requirements. You will have to pass a series of tests that will look at strength and stamina. The job also requires you to be physically fit, able to lift heavy things, climb a latter and move quickly.

 

How much free time do you have?

 

Since this is a volunteer position, there won’t be any payment. However, you may be able to get a tax refund or reimbursement for expenses on the job. There is also a minimum hourly requirement, sometimes upwards of twenty hours per week or more, but this will depend on a number of factors, such as your area, the number of volunteers and the rules of the department.

 

Can I become a career firefighter after volunteering?

 

Actually, if you are looking to build a career as a firefighter, then volunteering is a great place to start. You can work toward passing all of the tests, get training on the job, and rack up some experience. You’ll also be able to build contacts within the firefighting community who will be able to inform you if there is a full-time staff position.

 

Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter: The Next Steps

 

If you feel that volunteering as a firefighter is right for you, then your first step is to contact your local fire department. Since each department is different, you will need to directly ask about the rules and requirements for volunteers.

 

The next step is to get in shape. Learn about the requirements for your fitness test and train accordingly. Go on regular runs, do strength exercises, or even work with a personal trainer to make sure you reach the objectives. You may also have to work to shed a few extra pounds if you’re over the weight limit.

 

Once you have scheduled and passed your fitness test, you will need to begin your training. All volunteer firefighters have to complete 110 hours of NFPA certification. You may also need additional training, depending on your department. Some volunteer firefighters also opt to get EMT certification along with their NFPA certification, so that they can assist in a medical emergency. When you have finished your training and passed your exams, you can get fitted for gear, get your personal radio, and get ready to start saving lives!

Quick Clot: The Pros and Cons

If you’re a member of a first-responder team, like a firefighter, an EMT or police officer, you may have heard of QuikClot. QuikClot, also known as quick clot, is an emergency medical product meant to stop bleeding quickly, in time to get the patient to a doctor. Read below to learn more about quick clot and how it can help you do your job better.

 

 What is QuikClot?

QuikClot is a powder made from a mineral called zeolite. It is found in kaolin clay. In powder form, quick clot will stop severe bleeding and can even prevent a person from bleeding to death. In this way, it is indispensable for saving lives in certain situations.

Quick clot is most commonly used by the military, whose personnel are often in dangerous situations that are far away from medical care. In addition, the kinds of injuries that soldiers commonly face are much more dangerous than the average individual, and for these two reasons, quick clot is most commonly used here.

 

QuikClot: The ProsQuickClot

However, some civilian emergency personnel may benefit from carrying a few packets of quick clot on assignments, particularly to extremely dire accidents. For example, a really messy car accident in which the victim is going to bleed to death in a matter of minutes may be a time where quick clot would be vital.

The Cons

Yet many medical professionals recommend that quick clot be used only in certain situations. This be because it is a powder and can be very difficult to clean out of a wound, particularly a deep puncture wound. While quick clot will stop the bleeding, it won’t do anything to help the wound heal or disinfect it.

Doctors and nurses in emergency rooms report that quick clot can make the process of cleaning and dressing a wound much more difficult and also take much longer. And this takes away valuable resources from other patients in the ER who may need help.

Therefore, experts recommend only using quick clot in situations where you are really far away from medical help or if you can’t stop the bleeding in a wound with pressure.

The Verdict?

While quick clot can be difficult for emergency room staff to deal with, it can also help save lives. If you are an EMT, firefighter or other first-responder who regularly sees the kinds of gruesome injuries where an individual may bleed to death before getting to the emergency room, then perhaps it would be a good idea to carry a couple of packets of quick clot.

Additionally, you can consider each situation on a case-by-case basis. Try to assess the situation and determine whether you can stop the bleeding with pressure and elevation, as we learned in First Aid class.

You can also use quick clot if the material you’re using for a compress, such as a sanitary pad, becomes saturated very quickly. For example, if several sanitary pads become saturated in a matter of minutes, then it may be necessary to use quick clot.

Quick clot isn’t a perfect product or a cure-all, but can be live-saving in certain circumstances. Just carry a few packets to your assignments and use your judgement to determine whether it is necessary.