Volunteer Fire, Rescue & EMS Service Opportunities

Firefighter Turnout Gear

Yes, you can be a volunteer firefighter, EMT or paramedic — and eventually even the Fire Chief!

Harford County Fire & EMS departments are seeking passionate, dedicated individuals interested in joining their team as a volunteer firefighter, EMT or in the many supporting roles that keep a Fire/EMS department going — including accountants, marketers, IT professionals, fundraising coordinators, office support staff and more. Make a difference, find your second family.

Every role is critical — whether you want to be on the front lines responding when someone calls 911, or behind the scenes keeping the fire trucks on the road and the bills paid. Volunteering at your local fire company is worth every minute. So if you’ve ever been curious about what it’s like to serve, now is a great time to find out more.

You Don't Need to be a Superhero to Save Lives.

No Prior Experience Needed.
Free Training Provided.
Incredible Benefits.

The Many Ways You Can Volunteer

Volunteer Firefighter or Firefighter/EMT

Firefighters do much more than just put out fires. As designated protectors of their communities, they attend to emergency events from fires to road accidents to floods. They also meet with their communities to teach fire safety.

Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company

Courtesy Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company

Firefighters and Firefighter/EMTs are typically among the first dispatched on every fire and rescue call and provide essential emergency response on calls ranging from car accidents to structural fires, routine service calls to major disasters.

Departments have their own requirements and progression processes. Some departments have Firefighter or EMS only roles, while others may require being cross-trained as a Firefighter/EMT. Ask your department recruiter for their requirements.

Volunteering in this role is physically and mentally demanding; you will be asked to intervene and provide exemplary service during the worst moments of people’s lives. Your training is very extensive but manageable if you have strong time management skills.

All training is provided free by the Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute (MFRI), Harford County agencies, individual departments and beyond. You’ll never be lacking for learning opportunities!

Upon completion of core firefighting training, you will also have the opportunity to join a specialized rescue team such as: River Rescue and Tactical Services; Dive Rescue and Recovery; Urban Search and Rescue; and Hazardous Materials. You will find that your training is intellectually stimulating and will compliment your professional work or education; in addition to the unique skills acquired, you will become a leader among your peers and learn new management styles.

Leadership opportunities will also be available as you gain experience and further education.


Volunteer EMT or Paramedic

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are certified to render first aid to patients in the field, then triage, stabilize and transport patients to the hospital. In some departments, EMTs are also firefighters, rescue technicians, or special operations personnel that perform more than medical assistance.

Paramedics are the next level up from EMT — and are able to provide advanced life support in the field for more seriously ill or critically injured victims.

Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps

Courtesy Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps

Volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic is an excellent way to serve your community while gaining invaluable life-saving experience. EMTs perform many duties besides answering 911 calls; in this role you may be asked to assist with public education campaigns and engage the community during fire department open houses as well as other local events.

Volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician is mentally and physically demanding; you will be asked to intervene and provide exemplary service during the worst moments of people’s lives. Your training is very extensive but manageable if you have strong time management skills.

There are a series of training courses which equate to 170+ classroom and online hours to attain the status of Emergency Medical Technician. By the end of your initial training you will be proficient in CPR and how to handle cardiac as well as respiratory arrest, heart attacks, seizures, diabetic emergencies, respiratory problems and other medical emergencies. You will also know how to manage traumatic injuries such as falls, fractures, lacerations and burns. You will find that your training is intellectually stimulating and will complement your professional work or education; in addition to the specialized skills acquired, you will become a leader among your peers and learn new management strategies.

The possibilities for advancement in this position are unbounded. Following completion of EMT-B class, you can take courses to become a paramedic or EMS officer/supervisor. All EMT training is provided free of charge and is strongly encouraged. Opportunities for Paramedic training and roles, as well as other EMS leadership opportunities may vary by department throughout the state — be sure to ask your recruiter for specific details


Administrative, Support or Auxiliary Volunteer

Harford County Volunteer Fire/EMS Departments need more than firefighters and EMTs. Our departments are dynamic and evolving non-profit organizations; we are in constant need of professionals with specialized skills-sets from ALL backgrounds. Non-operational volunteer contributions are critical in day-to-day operations as well as attaining long-term department goals.

Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company

Courtesy Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company

Projects, programs and departments that need significant non-operational assistance include: fundraising; recruitment; marketing/branding; advertising; book-keeping; audit support; legal; event planning; graphic design; website development, training management, curriculum development; database management; donor management; public/media relations; facilities; social networking; film production; food preparation; and procurement.

Administrative, support and auxiliary membership is available for applicants who do not wish or may not be able to participate in Fire/Rescue or EMS operations, but still desire to serve their local volunteer fire department.

Do you have a desire to support fundraising, departmental events, public service events, work details, administrative support and other non-emergency related functions? There are so many opportunities — and many of them are flexible to meet your schedule and availability.

Everyone has a talent and a unique perspective which can be applied to the betterment of the volunteer fire/rescue service throughout Harford County.

Every department has different needs — ask the recruitment team from the department(s) you visit about their needs to see if you are a good match!


Junior, Cadet & Explorer Programs

Many volunteer Fire & EMS departments throughout Harford County offer Junior Firefighting/EMS, Cadet and/or Explorer programs to those individuals interested in volunteering who are under 18 years old. Through training and ride-alongs, these individuals experience what it’s like to be a firefighter or emergency service provider.

Harford County Cadet ProgramThe Harford County High School Cadet Program is a joint effort between the Harford County Public Schools and the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association to provide college-level education and career training to high school seniors.

Participants enroll in their school’s Work-Based Learning course to complete training and other requirements at the University of Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute (MFRI). MFRI and Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System (MIEMSS) classes which may be available to junior members include: Emergency Medical Technician-Basic, Firefighter I & II, Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations, Strategies and Tactics and Rescue Technician.

Junior members are typically very good students, possess an innate ability to lead groups and have a community conscious mindset.

This program gives young adults a look into possible career paths such as fire, EMS, or other public safety professions, and challenges them to become responsible citizens within their communities.

The experience and what is included in junior level memberships does vary by department, so be sure to ask your recruiter for more information.

Parental permission is required to pursue junior membership and certain restrictions apply to participation while school is in session, including curfews and grade point average requirements. Letters of recommendation are strongly encouraged.


The deadline to apply for the 2024-2025 school year HCVFA Cadet Program is July 15, 2024.


Live-In Programs for College Students & More

Harford County Fire/EMS offers live-in programs, an excellent opportunity to serve the community and gain significant fire, rescue and EMS response experience, at Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company, Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company and Susquehanna Hose Company.

Live-in volunteers (also called Bunkroom members) typically are college students or individuals who work full time jobs — and live at the firehouse full time providing a significant, dedicated response resource. This elite group of volunteer professionals usually dedicates between 3-5 nights a week to staffing apparatus. The hard work and loyalty of live-ins reaps many benefits!

Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company Lounge

Courtesy Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company

While programs vary by department, Live-In members typically receive free room and board, high speed internet and computer access, use of station facilities including kitchen, gym and more.

There are a variety of college tuition reimbursement programs among the many other benefits of being in the volunteer fire/rescue service outlined here.

Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department Live-In Quarters

Courtesy Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department


Ready to Learn More?

Contact Our Recruitment Team Now!

Harford County Fire-EMS Cadet Program

Courtesy Harford County Fire-EMS Cadet Program