The Cinnaminson Fire Department is in need of people it can train with six different programs that combine career-based and volunteer paths.
“There are 30 active volunteers between our two stations,” Fire Chief William Kramer said. The department has one engine company and an ambulance running every day of the year, and is always in need of volunteers to keep operating. Experience is not required.
Kramer explained the many classifications of volunteers. To be a regular firefighter or an emergency medical volunteer, applicants must be 18 or older. Both classifications include free protective clothing and equipment for candidates who must pass a state exam.
The emergency medical volunteer differs from a general firefighter; the former is focused more on emergency medical technician or emergency medical responder career paths. Potential applicants who aren’t first responders can help with non-emergency services and administrative work.
“You don’t have to want to be a firefighter to volunteer,” said Kramer.
The fire department has youth programs for teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, known as Junior Firefighter and Explorer classifications. Junior Firefighters receive in-house training that prepares them for official firefighter training, but only respond to limited emergencies.
“Junior firefighters learn about what we do and how we do it,” Kramer explained. “We expose them to emergency services, hands-on training and meetings.”
Explorer volunteers are enrolled under the Boy Scouts of America. They aren’t official members of the department, but their participation is the same as a Junior Firefighter. All volunteer programs focus on learning, using equipment and studying policies and procedures.
“We have another volunteer opportunity called the Fire Police Officer program, where volunteers learn about managing traffic and crowd control,” Kramer noted. “It’s a combination of fire and police officer training and is a separate program.”
The Contributory Member is a volunteer who doesn’t respond to emergencies but wants to serve the community. They attend monthly business meetings and serve on committees to support the fire department’s mission. Contributory Members can also volunteer for administrative positions.
“We have been around for 100 years in the community,” Kramer noted. “Being a volunteer is a great way to contribute back, and for youngsters and volunteers of any age to learn new things.”
Kramer also offered words of encouragement to potential volunteers.
“The issue of shrinking volunteer ranks in the emergency services is a nationwide crisis that has significant implications if not addressed,” he said.
Applicants go through an interview process –where more information is provided and requirements are explained – and a background investigation. Volunteers must have strong physical abilities, but those who don’t can apply for administrative positions.
For more information and to apply, visit https://www.cinnafire.org/education/volunteer/