If you want to know whether you can get paid to be a volunteer firefighter, this article will be very helpful.
It answers this question and reveals how volunteer firefighters can get “paid”.
It also reveals some of the companies and programs that help you get paid.
First things first…
We are blessed to live in America.
Our blessings are that we enjoy a standard of living that other countries only dream about, the necessities of life are plentiful, we can pursue our dreams and we are protected by a Constitution and Bill of Rights that guarantees our freedoms.
However, like any other country, we are subjected to various crises that can happen in our lives. Some of these events are in the form of natural disasters.
Some of those natural disasters could include flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.
Depending upon where we live, these disasters can be seasonally predicted but can strike at any time and anywhere.
When these natural disasters strike, people’s lives are affected and could be devastated due to the loss of personal possessions.
A natural disaster can be a catastrophic event in the lives of some people.
Importance of Volunteer Firefighters
However, it seems like there’s always a silver lining in everything. One of the silver linings of a disaster occurring is the American spirit of volunteerism.
The volunteer is that person who gives freely of his or her time and energy in helping others who have been adversely affected.
These volunteers can be from the local community or from neighboring states or distant parts of this great land of ours.
They are easily recognizable because they work side-by-side with the individual or families that have been devastated by the tragic event.
They not only embrace the individual and console them through their being emotionally distress but work along with that individual in searching for lost items, cleaning debris, sweeping out the mud and water, etc.
The American volunteer is the symbol of the importance of community and the blessings of being an American.
Another important volunteer figure in America is the volunteer fireman.
Again these volunteers are the epitome of community service as they are ready to respond as needed within their community donning the attire of a firefighter in lieu of their business suits, coveralls, and work attire.
It’s important to note the critical role of firefighters and especially those who volunteer in this position.
Volunteer firefighters are the men and women in their local community who take pride in giving back and utilizing their skills and commitment to being the first line of defense in the event of a fire.
Do Volunteer Firefighters Get Paid?
As volunteers, by law, they are not allowed to receive a salary or hourly wage for their services rendered.
However, there are various means by which some sort of compensation or “payment” can be provided.
One of these is “Stipend”.
The Fair Labor Standards Act stipulates that a volunteer cannot work off-hours in performance of the same services that they receive remuneration as a regular employee.
Eventually, as a compromise, the Department of Labor modified the act to stipulate that in lieu of a wage, a stipend could be provided to volunteer firefighters, who responded to emergencies during their off-hours.
Therefore, a volunteer firefighter, after hours of performing their normal duties as a firefighter or a community-minded individual who volunteers as a firefighter can be “paid” a stipend.
The stipend includes the covering of any personal expenses related to the volunteer activity which could include meals, transportation, uniforms, tuitions involving classes related to volunteerism, etc.
10 Best Companies that Help Volunteer Firefighters Get “Paid”
1. The Motorola Solutions Foundation
This philanthropic foundation indicates that over the last 10 years they have awarded $100 million in grants.
Their specific area of interest is in support of first responders, technology, engineering education, and underrepresented groups.
Specifically, Motorola is committed to expressing its appreciation to volunteers.
Additionally, the Motorola Foundation exclusively supports students by providing scholarships for their continuing education.
These students gathered from the underrepresented pool of applicants include children from families that represent the Police Department, paramedic, and pre-service firefighter programs.
2. Provident Agency, Inc.
Provident Agency is an insurance company that offers a number of products to its customers.
As part of its service and specifically to volunteer fire departments, Provident offers a blanket insurance policy that covers accidents and when the volunteer is helping.
This coverage is afforded to the volunteer firefighter to protect the livelihood of the volunteer as it relates to their normal occupation.
Also, in 1962 they expanded this coverage to include insurance benefits that include accidental death and dismemberment, group term life, first responder assistance program, critical illness, and property, and casualty insurance.
Provident also understands the specific issues, mental, emotional, and physical, faced by firefighters.
Consequently, they help to provide confidential assistance on a 24 hour seven days a week basis.
Individuals from the firefighting profession can call and be counseled regarding overwhelming issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, addictions, etc.
As a major cellular phone service provider, Verizon understands the importance that volunteer firefighters make in their community,
To communicate their appreciation of these individuals and their work and service, Verizon offers a number of cellular plan discounts to volunteer firefighters.
As part of Verizon’s understanding of the need to keep emergency channels engaged, Verizon offers first responders access to Verizon’s network on a priority basis and at no additional monthly cost.
Additionally, Verizon extends savings to all members of the fire volunteer firefighters’ family.
4. Anheuser-Busch Foundation
The inaugural year for this foundation was 1975. Its main areas of funding support include grants to a variety of community organizations.
One of the focused community areas that receive the awarding of grants from this foundation is disaster preparedness.
Additionally, the Anheuser-Busch Company, most notably known for the production of beer, also produces canned water that they provide in various emergency situations.
This water is made available to those who are the victims of these emergency situations and also to those selfless individuals who are the first responders.
ADT as a security company understands the need for emergency preparedness and response.
Consequently, they recognize the value that volunteer firefighters bring to their individual communities by responding at a moment’s notice to emergency fire situations.
Consequently, ADT is a major sponsor of the National Volunteer Fire Council and through their monetary donations help to recruit and train more volunteers that are needed around the country.
6. California Casualty Insurance
This insurance company provides for the insurance need of their customers.
Insurance products include auto, motorcycle, home insurance, condo, renters mobile home boat earthquake flood, RV, snowmobiles, etc.
As a benefit afforded in appreciation to the volunteer firefighters’ service, special insurance policies containing special benefits are offered to firefighters.
This may not be a direct compensation in appreciation for their service but certainly can help to lower their insurance costs.
This high-speed wireless broadband network built by this company and AT&T is specifically designed and dedicated to facilitating the critical need of first responders to communicate with each other.
As part of their continued dedication and support of volunteer firefighters and emergency management systems in various communities, a recent $900,000 donation was awarded.
The purpose of the award was to provide for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure the safety of these first responders from Covid-19.
Certainly, this action by FirstNet was a powerful and preventative contribution to help the volunteers to remain healthy and consequently reduce any unnecessary medical bills.
Globe manufacturing company is a leader in supplying fire departments with the needed protective clothing required to maintain their safety.
A recent significant contribution by this manufacturing company was to 13 volunteer-driven fire departments.
Their contribution was 52 complete units of life-saving gear. That gear consisted of fire retardant or resistant jackets and pants.
As of this writing, a total of 403 sets of turnouts have been donated at a valued cost of $1 million.
One such department that was awarded a set of turnouts included a department that had an annual budget of $2000 and a complement of 16 active firefighters.
Certainly, this support of in-kind gifts goes a long way towards keeping our brave and heroic firefighters safe from the hazards of their fire-fighting duty.
9. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire
As a premier distillery, Jack Daniels is committed to supporting firefighters who serve diligently from all walks of life.
A recent charity benefit concert was hosted by Jack Daniels. The headliner for the event was Chase Rice.
A total of $75,000 was presented to the National Volunteer Fire Council in support of firefighter volunteers.
Interestingly, Jack Daniels maintains its own volunteer fire department.
10. Lincoln Financial Group
This insurance company offers a variety of products and services. In addition, to life insurance, they offer annuities, retirement plans, and long-term care protection.
As part of the insurance industry, they are well acquainted with the various catastrophes and crises that can occur in an individual and family’s life.
Consequently, they support others who respond and are well aware of these life-changing events.
As part of their support to volunteer firefighters, they are involved in a hero plus program.
Coupled with the products that they offer, they extend special benefits to volunteer emergency personnel including volunteer firefighters.
This program is not only designed to support the firefighters but provides an attraction for other volunteers to join this brotherhood.
Put Out the Fire
On any given day across the United States of America, there are 1,115,000 firefighters ready to respond at a moment’s notice to combat fire and provide for the safety of their community.
Of that number, 370,000 or 33% of these firefighters are employed or defined as career firefighters.
The remaining 745,000 or 67% of these heroes are defined as volunteer firefighters.
Imagine, having a daytime occupation that may consist of sitting behind a desk, standing in a workshop, working at a construction site, etc., and receiving word that your services as a voluntary volunteer firefighter are needed.
Subsequently, you drop everything and rush to the scene of the fire.
This is the exciting and dedicated life of a volunteer firefighter.
I had the privilege of working for a non-a profit within our community. It was a day in and day out service provided to others who were in need.
We would distribute food, clothes, energy assistance, operate a shelter and feeding program, etc.
We relied heavily upon the support of the community to provide these services to our neighbors.
They volunteered their money to our agency as an investment to helping others.
However, the most meaningful time for me as an employee of the not-for-profit was during the holiday season.
It was during these times that volunteers came in droves to help us with the distribution of food baskets and toys to needy children.
It was always a heartwarming experience as others captured and demonstrated the true meaning of the holiday in a practical and meaningful way.
The tendency of human nature is to not worry about things until these events unfold.
The expression “we will cross that bridge when we come to it” is often the philosophy of many individuals in America.
However, there are those individuals who plan and prepare for the possibility of emergency situations happening in their life.
In preparation, they may have set aside three days of water, an emergency food supply, and have practiced an evacuation route for their family to follow.
The reality, it appears, is that we depend upon others to respond to assist us in coping with these emergencies in our lives.
The volunteer firefighter is one of those individuals that we count on heavily to respond to these catastrophic events that can occur in our community.
They are not paid but they are supported.