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Home > Emergency Services > Fire Department > Firefighters Volunteer

Volunteer Firefighters

Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteer Information

The Hailey Fire Department is a “combination” fire department, meaning we have both full time career firefighters and “paid-per-call” members.  The majority of the firefighters on this department are paid-per-call personnel.  There are no true “volunteers” here, each active member is paid an hourly wage to respond to calls and participate in approved training.  The pay isn’t a lot – there’s no way to make a living as paid-per-call member – but the rewards of being in the fire service are beyond monetary measure.

This department consists of 28 members, men and women from the ages of 22 to 65.  With the exception of the four career members, most have full time jobs outside the department and/or families. 

The fire service is a demanding profession – physically, mentally and emotionally.  It can take time away from loved ones and leisure activities which may add to the ordinary stressors of daily life.  And though everyone of us here at the Hailey Fire Department love and are excited by what we do, anyone interested in the fire service should take the time to consider whether they are at a place in their life to give to this department the commitment it demands.

Everything we do in the fire service can be broken into two basic categories:  to save lives and property.  Whether we are at a structure fire, a brush fire, a motor vehicle collision, a water rescue or a hazardous material incident, what we do and how we do them are designed to achieve those two goals.  It is most often hot, sweaty, dirty, strenuous and possibly dangerous work, but despite all that (or maybe because of all that) job satisfaction is guaranteed.

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Over the years, the fire service has evolved into a public safety agency providing highly technical and diverse services.  In order to ensure that all members of the fire department are prepared to deliver the best level of service to the public, training standards have been developed to provide each member with the needed skills, knowledge, and abilities to deliver emergency services to the citizens of Hailey.  As with all skilled professional services, firefighters are never done with learning.  Training is a very large part of the commitment needed on this department.  All department-required trainings are paid for by the department, as well as travel expenses if the training is out of the area.

Firefighter 1

This is the basics class for structural firefighting.  Trainees learn about wearing personal protective clothing, breathing through a mask and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), fire ground operations and a great deal of other activities necessary to become a structural firefighter.  This class is a combination of classroom and practical application.  Average reading and comprehension skills are necessary to pass.  Depending on the structure of the class, it could be taught in-house for Hailey Fire Department trainees only, or it could be taught as a class that incorporates trainees for departments valley-wide.  It is usually taught in the fall and requires approximately 120 hours of a student’s time, and may be spread out over several months.  Regardless of how it is taught, this is a major time commitment and students need to be able spend all the time required for this class.

Other classes, such as Wildland Firefighting, Auto Extrication, Hazardous Materials Operations and CPR, are required before each trainee finishes a probationary period and is considered a full time member.  Until all required training is complete, new firefighters may be limited as to the types of incidents they may respond to.

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Categories of Membership

Basic Firefighter

An individual who has completed all the necessary training and who meets the annual physical fitness test required for active emergency response duty.  Both full-time and paid-per-call members are included in this category.  A six month probationary period is required after training requirements are met.  After the probationary period, a new firefighter will be voted onto the department by a majority vote of existing members. Firefighters work under the direction of officers and are responsible for being proficient at a number of skills.

Persons wishing to maintain basic firefighter status in the department are expected to attend no less than 50% of the regularly scheduled trainings and respond to no less than 10% of fire calls. 


Engineers are firefighters who have been certified by the Department to drive and operate department suppression apparatus. The role of the engineer is to safely drive the apparatus to the emergency scene and operate that apparatus at the scene.  Extra training above and beyond that required for a basic firefighter is needed to obtain this position.


Experienced firefighters who have become engineers and who demonstrate good leadership and command attributes may be promoted to officer on the Department by the chief.  Engineers can be promoted to Lieutenant or Captain, but must be elected by the membership to the position of Assistant Chief.  Captains and Lieutenants are squad leaders and are responsible for training, directing, and supporting firefighters.  The Assistant Chief is the second ranked person on the Department and acts in the Chief’s place in the absence of the Chief.  The department has established a number of criteria for officers, including experience as an engineer and in incident command roles. 

Support Members

This category is for those members who do not wish to participate in actual firefighting or other dangerous situations. They do, however, respond to major emergency scenes and provide support services, such as obtaining needed supplies, staffing on-scene medical aid stations, photographing the scene for future analysis, and assisting in rehabilitating fire crews. This category is very important, and in many cases, some firefighters may be assigned to this activity at major scenes if there is a shortage of support members.


Administrative Members

This category consists of men and women who can volunteer their time in the areas of fund raising, public relations, public education, and administration. These are vital functions that support the paid-per-call firefighter's association and the goals of the fire department. Those persons who do not have the desire to participate in emergency activities, or those who cannot meet the physical requirements for firefighting or support duties, are encouraged to enter the service as administrative members.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How do I become a Volunteer Firefighter with the Hailey Fire Department?

A.  All new paid-per call members without previous training and/or experience are required to complete the Firefighter 1 course.  This course is taught to all potential firefighters for departments valley-wide and usually begins in early fall.

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Q2. What's the cost of the required training?

A.  The required training for service as a volunteer is provided free of charge. Transportation to and from the training classes is the responsibility of each member.

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Q3. How much will I have to pay for my protective clothing and uniform?

A.  All required protective clothing and uniforms are provided by the fire department at no cost to you.

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Q4. What is the format of the volunteer training schedule?

A.  The Firefighter 1 class is approximately 120 hours in length and the format of the class may vary.  The course may occur over a span of several months with one weekday evening spent on classroom work and an occasional Saturday spent on practicing skills.  Once this course is completed, the trainee is expected to participate in weekly Wednesday trainings for the department.  Anyone interested in an Administrative or Support position is not required to take the Firefighter 1 course but is encouraged to attend weekly trainings.

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Q5. Who provides insurance coverage for my activities as a volunteer?

A.  Volunteers are covered under workers compensation through the State of Idaho, for injuries incurred while acting as a volunteer firefighter. In addition, the fire department also has a supplemental policy for accidents incurred on the job. Finally, should any member die as a direct result of their participation as a volunteer firefighter, the Federal Government will provide a $100,000 life insurance premium to your beneficiaries. (Each member is advised to maintain accident and liability insurance for the personal vehicles they may use to respond to emergency scenes.)

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Q6. After my initial training, how much time will I be expected to give as an active member?

A.  All members who are not administrative or support are required to attend 50% of weekly department meetings and to respond to 10% of non-EMS calls. Members will be paid wages and travel expenses for classes that are required by the Hailey Fire Department but not taught in-house.  Fire and EMS classes are offered frequently nation-wide and members are always encouraged to pursue training.

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Q7. If I have prior fire service training and experience, will it count towards the Hailey Fire Department requirements?

A.  In most cases, prior training can be used to meet our standards. It will usually depend on how current your training is. Our training requirements are based on both state and national recommendations, which are administered by the Hailey Fire Department.

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Q8. Is it possible to concentrate my participation and specialize in areas within the fire service?

A.  Certainly. We only ask that you maintain a current base of general firefighting knowledge that all firefighters must possess during your specialty training.

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Q9. Do I need to pass a physical examination?

A.  Currently, the Hailey Fire Department does not require firefighters to have a physical exam prior to entry, or to remain on the department. It is anticipated in the next few years that physical examinations will be required both upon entry into the service, as well as annually. Until this service is provided, you are strongly advised to check with your doctor to insure that you are able to participate at the level of activity that you will be expected to, while you are a member of this department. Members are required to annually pass an “arduous pack test” which entails walking three miles within 45 minutes while wearing a 40 pound weight vest.  Participants are not allowed to jog or run.

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Q10. How do I become a Full-time Firefighter with the Hailey Fire Department?

A.  All of the full-time positions with the fire department are administrative positions that require extensive firefighting experience as well as specific administrative skills. As our department grows, we anticipate the need to add several entry level positions in the near future, with firefighter/EMT's who can assist in the ever increasing administrative functions of the department. The best way to obtain any full-time position in the fire service is to obtain an associate degree in fire science. In addition, becoming a volunteer firefighter can certainly help in obtaining a full time position, as it demonstrates your commitment and skills for the job.

Any upcoming positions will be posted on this web site, and is open to anyone who has the appropriate qualifications for the posted position.

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Q11. Will serving as a volunteer give me any preference in being hired as a career firefighter, if a position is available?

A.  While no hiring preference is given, serving as a volunteer member will give you the opportunity to gain valuable training and experiences in the fire service. This background will enhance your ability to be competitive during any selection process for a career firefighter position.

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