as a Volunteer
For more information, review our Recruiting Brochure or submit our Information Request Form.
America has a long tradition of volunteer service. In many communities, volunteering is an economic necessity. However, most volunteers also fulfill a call to civic duty, and receive the satisfaction of helping their friends and neighbors. More than half of all fire departments in the United States are staffed entirely or substantially by volunteers. Volunteer or combination (mixed volunteer and paid) departments are the most common approach to fire protection in smaller communities, especially in the Northeast. The Village of Larchmont's 100-year tradition of a combination department fits with the pattern of similar smaller communities.
Larchmont is subject to many demographic trends that affect volunteerism. Residents balance family and community life with the demands of professional careers. The time and energy for volunteer service is limited, and the obvious choices involve activities of short duration. The idea of serving as a volunteer firefighter raises images of midnight alarms, evening and weekend training, and potentially hazardous and difficult service at fire scenes. Therefore, many residents never consider the idea of joining the Fire Department as a volunteer. However, the reality is different from many commonly held perceptions:
The basic approach to fire and emergency protection in Larchmont involves teamwork between the paid and volunteer members of the Department. The paid staff provide ongoing coverage and operational support at the Fire Department, and drive the fire apparatus to a fire scene in response to alarms. The paid staff also serve as trained and qualified first responders to medical emergencies, because they can respond within minutes to anywhere in the Village.
Volunteers report directly to a fire scene, responding to the Department horn as well as pagers. At a fire, the volunteer and paid staff work as a team executing one of a range of attack plans depending on the circumstances. While volunteers can and do perform every function associated with fighting a fire, only those with considerable training and experience are positioned to directly attack the fire. There are many other essential functions at a fire scene involving connecting hoses, positioning and restocking equipment and supplies, as well as crowd and traffic management. Safety is paramount, and safety is achieved by careful planning, strict command and organization, and consistent preparation and training.
So, why should you consider joining the Larchmont Fire Department? Our members can offer the following reasons to consider membership.
Effective training is essential to achieve timely, effective, and safe emergency operations. The Department requires new members to complete the "Essentials of Firemanship" course offered through the Westchester County Training Academy within 1 year of confirmation as a member of the Department. This is a 39-hour course that is frequently available in several schedule formats. For example, it can be completed during evenings over a period of months, over a series of Saturdays, or intensively over one week during regular working hours.
Volunteer firefighters are also expected to attend training activities provided at the Fire Department and at other sites in Larchmont. These sessions are conducted by members of the Department.
Additional training opportunities are periodically available for volunteers to learn how to operate firefighting apparatus, or to learn about new techniques and firefighting strategies. Members are selected for these special programs based on their interest, level of participation, and the needs of the Department.
A volunteer member of the Fire Department, not serving as an officer, has the following obligations:
While future levels of activity cannot be predicted, based on past levels of activity, a volunteer member can maintain active status by attending two scheduled organizational and training meetings each month. If the volunteer can respond to several alarms per month, consistent with the volunteer's other obligations, this would constitute a very satisfactory level of participation. While many of our members participate more frequently, the Department's basic expectations of volunteer members permit members to balance their service to the community with their family and career obligations.
Membership in the Fire Department is open to all residents of Larchmont over the age of 18, and to a limited number of non-residents who live in nearby communities. Men and women are encouraged to join.
The Department also has established a Cadet Program for youth between the ages of 14 and 18. The program enables young people the opportunity to participate in training activities and drills, as well as the opportunity to assist in responding to alarms that do not occur during school hours or after 11:00pm. Members of the Troop do not enter the fire scene or directly attack a fire, but assist in support roles.
For more information about membership, call the Departments administrative number at 834-0471, and a member of the Department will meet with you to provide further information about membership.