On January 1, 1994, we added a “sleeper program” for our volunteers. Volunteers were able to sign up to serve a shift at the fire station, and sleep there for the night, in exchange for a little extra pay and the chance to be the first-in at a call. This program had is ups and downs until September 1997 when the program was revamped by Chief Mike Spring. Chief Spring found funding for a remodel of the old fire station, and this provided living facilities for college students to move into the station.
This program continued when we moved into our new fire station in February 2001. In exchange for a free place to live, the students respond to calls during the evening hours and on the weekends, on a rotating-shift basis. Now called the Resident Firefighter Program, this has aided both the fire department and the residents who live in the station. Our program has expanded and continues to grow in its design. There is living space for 13 Residents.
There are two pay options for Resident Firefighters:
- They can receive a monthly stipend based on training, qualifications, and shifts served
- They can receive tuition reimbursement for classes taken towards obtaining a college degree. Students electing this option must sign a two-year commitment to the Resident Program. This is only waived in the case of a student being hired as a full-time firefighter or called to active military duty before their two-year commitment is up.
Training opportunities are plentiful. Residents can obtain their Firefighter 1 , Emergency Medical Technician-Basic, and Driver certifications. Other training opportunities include Wildland Red Card certification, Incident Safety Officer, and many others. All training meets or exceeds the standards set forth by the NFPA and NWCG.
Students who wish to apply for a spot in the Resident Firefighter Program must first meet the entry requirements for joining the College Place Fire Department. For more information, or to request an application, you may call the College Place Fire Department at (509) 529-6506, or email Firefighter Charlie Drury.