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Volunteer with Sonoma Valley Fire

Annual academy starts in March

By Melissa Dowling

The Sonoma Valley Fire District (SVFD) will start its academy for the next class of volunteer firefighters this March.

Volunteer candidates must be at least 18 years old, be residents of the district, complete a physical exam, and undergo a background check. Boundaries of the Sonoma Valley Fire District reach from Dunbar Road in Glen Ellen in the north to Leveroni Road in the south. The academy consists of training one night and one weekend day per week for about three months.

“The job of a SVFD volunteer firefighter does require some physical activity, such as the ability to pull a hose and put on an air pack, so candidates should be in decent shape,” said Bob Norrbom, SVFD battalion chief.

After the academy, volunteers will attend a two- to three-hour drill once per week on Thursday, and volunteer for periodic shifts to help respond to fire department calls including medical assists, vehicle accidents, and fires. Day and night shifts are available. Volunteers receive a small stipend for each shift. According to Norrbom, for any major fires, volunteers are essential to respond to and mitigate those incidents.

Kenwood Fire Department’s volunteer program shares the academy and is also looking for new volunteers.

Any volunteer candidates who are state-certified as a firefighter 1 can become volunteers in the district without attending the academy.

Volunteering with the SVFD is a great way to learn about firefighting and start a career with the fire department. Many former volunteers have later pursued careers in the fire service.

SVFD is especially looking for volunteers to staff the Trinity-Cavedale Road-Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain Road-Enterprise Road substations.

“Becoming a volunteer firefighter is neighbors helping neighbors,” says Norrbom. “There is a social aspect as well. As a volunteer in your community you will help to staff community events like the Sonoma Fourth of July parade and fireworks and the Glen Ellen Firefighters’ dinner-dance and pancake breakfast, escort Santa around at Christmas, and ensure safety at the Glen Ellen Village Fair.

For more information or to fill out an application, visit sonomavalleyfire.org or stop by in person at any of the Sonoma Valley fire stations.

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