National Junior Firefighter Program: Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the National Junior Firefighter Program, starting a local program, or becoming a junior firefighter? Answers to frequently asked questions are below. You can also contact the NVFC for more information and guidance.

What is the National Junior Firefighter Program?
The National Junior Firefighter program supports fire, rescue, and EMS organizations nationwide in developing, growing, and promoting programs that encourage youth participation within their organizations. Our national program provides departments with the resources needed to start or expand their own program and offers junior firefighters the tools and information to get involved.

What are the benefits of a junior firefighter program?

  • Allows youth to gain insight and interest in becoming long-term members of the emergency services
  • Increases awareness among youth about volunteering and supporting the fire and emergency services
  • Provides departments with the opportunity to recruit additional members
  • Provides departments with additional help in accomplishing non-firefighting or non-emergency tasks
  • Offers leadership development for America’s youth, who are tomorrow’s leaders
  • Educates parents and mentors on the importance of encouraging volunteerism

How can my department start and implement a junior program?
The National Junior Firefighter Program’s resources are available to any fire, rescue, and EMS department/organization that wishes to promote their existing program or start a program from scratch. These include resource guides, sample documents, training, recruitment materials, and more. Access these resources and more here.

What type of insurance or liability is needed for youth participants?
While the National Junior Firefighter Program does not advocate junior firefighters participating in operational activities, departments should check with their current insurance provider on what is required for youth who are present on your organization’s property, regardless of how they are involved. Typically, a waiver that includes a full disclosure of risks will release you from liability should someone be injured. This form should be signed by the parent or legal guardian of the youth participant. A sample waiver is available, but it is always in your best interest to check with your insurance provider directly, as well as with the appropriate legal counsel, before you start the program or change any existing requirements.

My department participates in the Boy Scouts/Learning for Life Explorer Program, can we participate?
Yes. Existing programs can take advantage of the National Junior Firefighter Program’s tools and resources to garner new ideas and enhance their program.

How old do I need to be to be a junior firefighter?
The ages of participation vary by your local department based on their local and state regulations and other factors. Please contact the department directly for age requirements.

What are the requirements for youth to participate?
The overall program requirements are different in each department, but generally you must:

  • Be in good academic standing with your school (‘C’ average in coursework)
  • Fulfill the minimum age requirements as outlined by the participating organization
  • Participate in a minimum number of hours each month (typically at least one four-hour block monthly, although individual programs have specific date/time requirements
  • Have your parent’s or guardian’s written permission to participate.

Once you contact a local participating organization, they will give you a full overview of their specific program, including individual requirements.

I want to become a junior firefighter? How can I find a local program?
To find a volunteer opportunity in your area, click here and search using your zip code. If no junior firefighter opportunities come up in the results, contact your local department directly to see if they have a program or are willing to start a program.

My fire department does not have a junior program. Are there other opportunities for me to get involved?
Absolutely! There is a myriad of non-operational activities youth can assist with in their local fire/EMS department, including fire prevention and life safety education, rehabilitation services, apparatus and facility maintenance, fundraising, department social media outreach, and more. Check out the NVFC’s Fire Corps program or find additional support opportunities here.