The Forward Firefighter Podcast

Episode 7

Columbus, WI Fire Department

Meet the Probationary Firefighters

Listen to the newest members of the Columbus, Wisconsin Volunteer Fire Department.

New members of the fire department are required to serve a year as a probationary firefighter.  During that probationary period, new members are required to take a 60-hour entry level firefighter class.  They are then encouraged to take the Firefighter I State Certification course soon after.

Our department assigns officers as mentors to new members.  As one of the mentors, I found this to be a very rewarding experience.  Not only does it provide the opportunity to get to know the new members on a personal level, but I found that it also made me a better firefighter along the way by reinforcing skills that are important but not often used.

Recruitment and retention is a major issue in the volunteer fire service.  Fire departments across the nation are finding it harder to find volunteers.  Due to full time job and family commitments, it can be difficult to find the time to volunteer.   Columbus is not exempt to this issue.  I have seen numerous retirements over the last two years.  However, we are also very lucky.  Within the past year, 7 new members joined our department.  The age of this new group ranges from the early twenties to the mid-forties.  Six of them have now completed their entry level firefighting course.  On Wednesday, May 31st, I sat down with six of the new members.  We talk about their experiences to date, and provide more information for anyone thinking about joining the volunteer fire service

Show Notes and References