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Resident volunteer firefighter positions are currently available with the Fortuna Fire Protection District. This opportunity is made possible through the Resident Volunteer Firefighter program — one of three distinct shift programs, all established in July 2015, and offered to volunteers with the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department.

The objective of the program is to provide real life experiences and opportunities in a firehouse setting to individuals pursuing a career in public safety.

“Staffing programs provide many benefits but most noticeable is the impact that the additional response capabilities have on improving the level of service to the community,” said department chief Lon Winburn. He said about 20 percent of FFD volunteers participate in the staffing program on a regular basis, as well as a few firefighters from neighboring departments. He said there have three resident volunteers over the years, two from Humboldt County and one from the Fairfield area, and all have since moved on.

“Having fire department staff personnel available to answer calls for medical aid and public assist requests relieves our police department personnel from that obligation,” Winburn said, “allowing them to do what they do best and we do what we do best.”

Volunteer firefighters will be provided no-cost living facilities, meals not included, at the Fortuna Fire Hall on South Fortuna Boulevard. This includes comfortable living quarters with a full kitchen, a training room facility and physical training equipment.

In return for accommodations, RVFs are required to become members of the FVFD and will assigned to a fire company with an expectation that they will participate in training and community events. They are required to pull a minimum of four 12-hour shifts per week, a number that might be negotiable based on school or work shifts of the participant.

Participants must be citizens of at least 18 years of age with a clean driving record and a high school diploma or GED.

The RVF program requires volunteers to attend the Eel River Valley Probationary Academy; maintain Health Care Level CPR certification and a 25-hour Public Safety First Aide or higher certification; attend 75 percent of all meetings and trainings; respond to 30 percent of all fire and rescue calls; and participate in routine fire department activities such as public education sessions, fire inspections and fire station tours.

Winburn said the main benefits of the staffing programs are creating additional opportunities for education and experience for those seeking careers in public safety and an additional avenue for providing an improved level of service.

“Times have changed in the world of volunteerism,” he said. “Everyone is busy and has little time to donate … we have to look at every option to provide services to our community.”

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