Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the cost of the required training?
A. The required training for volunteer firefighters is provided by the Sidney Fire Department free of charge. Transportation to and from accredited additional training is also funded by the Fire Department.
Q. How much will I have to pay for protective clothing?
A. All required protective clothing is provided by the Sidney Fire Department at no cost to the individual.
Q. What is the format of the volunteer recruit training schedule?
A. The Recruit Training Program is spread over a one year period and combines weeknight sessions with some weekend training.
Q. Who provides insurance coverage for my activities as a volunteer firefighter?
A. Normal Workers Compensation Board coverage is in effect whenever the individual is working for the Fire Department. The Town of Sidney also has insurance coverage for auto liability when operating Sidney Fire Department vehicles, as well as accidental death and disability coverage.
Q. Are volunteers directly paid in any way?
A. Volunteer firefighters are not paid for their services, however the Volunteer Fire Fighter’s Association receives an annual honorarium from the Town of Sidney.
Q. After my initial training, how much time will I be expected to give as an active member?
A. While the exact time requirements vary, the average training and call out time is at about twelve (12) hours per month. There is no limit on participation in optional duties such as tours, public education, or advanced training.
Q. How often will I be on call to respond to emergencies?
A. Our system depends upon volunteer firefighters ability to answer all emergencies. The Department expects volunteer firefighters, when in the Sidney area, be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is a major commitment that requires careful consideration before you undertake it. The Fire Department realizes that no one can be available all of the time, but it relies on the commitment from volunteer members to respond whenever they are available. Prospective applicants should be aware that this commitment cannot be taken lightly; their response to emergencies is a lifeline to the public that they serve.
Q. How quickly will I have to respond to emergencies?
A. The Department expects that all available members respond immediately to a page out. Normally, the first fire engine is en route within 4 minutes. However, you must obey all motor vehicle rules and regulations while responding to the Fire Hall. Failure to do so could lead to your dismissal from the Sidney Fire Department.
Q. How long do emergency call outs last?
A. An average response lasts less than an hour. A working structure fire may extend 3 to 4 hours. Major, multi-alarm fires may last 8 to 10 hours. Very rarely, a major emergency may extend for days.
Q. If I have prior fire/rescue training and experience, will it count towards the Sidney Fire Department's training requirements?
A. Prior training will likely reduce the time necessary to develop the minimum skills that the Fire Department looks for in its volunteer firefighters, but participation in all programs is still required in order to demonstrate your proficiency.
Q. Is it possible for me to concentrate my participation and specialize in one area of response?
A. All volunteer members are generalists, capable of doing any of the fire and/or rescue tasks that may occur at an emergency. Specialist training is provided, but not to the exclusion of the requirement to be able to participate in all Fire Department activities.
Q. Is there a medical and physical examination prior to acceptance by the Sidney Fire Department?
A. Yes. There is a medical examination and physical examination. Your doctor must complete a form provided by the Sidney Fire Department. In addition, you will be required to complete the Sidney Fire Department Physical & Practical Evaluation
Q. Will there be written or physical tests prior to acceptance by the Sidney Fire Department?
A. Currently there are no written tests prior to acceptance. However, you will be required to perform a series of physical tests to ensure that you are capable of doing the tasks required as a volunteer firefighter.
Q. Can a woman be a firefighter with the Sidney Fire Department?
A. We value our reputation as an equal opportunity Fire Department. In fact, we have had two female members hired as career firefighters, one promoted to Captain within our Department, and all female members are active in fire suppression training.
Q. Is there a social aspect to belonging to the Sidney Fire Department?
A. Yes. In addition to the contribution to the community, firefighters often find a personal satisfaction in belonging to the Fire Department community. Members participate regularly in Volunteer Fire Fighter's Association socials, hose coupling competitions, and other organized events.