The Nebraska State Fire Marshall’s Office says that there are nearly 15,500 unpaid volunteer firefighters serving in 472 fire departments having a total of 575 stations across the state. As National Fire Prevention Week approaches, Oct. 9-15, now is a great time to thank the men and women who give countless hours to training and service to help mitigate damage and casualties when the unthinkable occurs.

The average duration for a volunteer firefighter to complete the application process, department membership process, training, and to be properly outfitted can take up to a year and sometimes beyond. Continuing education and specialty training is continually ongoing. Local department trainings, mutual aid trainings with other departments and state conferences are offered and often well-attended by these volunteer firefighters.

The first major achievement is to complete Firefighter I Certification which consists of a 100-question written test and subsequent skills testing. The Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office states that a person who completes the Firefighter I course will, “Demonstrate the knowledge and ability to tie appropriate knots, don personal protective equipment including SCBA and firefighter turnout gear, understand the role of a Firefighter I in the fire service organization, have a basic understanding of incident command, communicate with the use of radios and telephones during emergency and non-emergency situations, participate as a member of a team while extinguishing vehicle fires, exterior and interior Class A fires, ground cover fires, perform vertical and horizontal ventilation, establish water supply, perform overhaul and salvage operations and use a variety of tools. Individuals who desire to complete this course should be in general good health and have the physical ability to complete strenuous and physically demanding work.”

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