If you are seeking a career in the fire service and would like to explore volunteer opportunities, there are many fire department suppression and non-suppression volunteer programs that exist throughout Santa Clara County. 

The Santa Clara County Fire Department offers presentations on career firefighting as well as other fire service professions. If you would like to schedule a presentation, please contact the Community Education Office at 408-378-4010 or via email.

So you want to become a firefighter?

Fire Service Career Information Sheet

To assist you in becoming competitive as an entry level firefighter candidate, and to help you build upon skills you already possess, this Fire Service Information sheet includes information on local and national institutions and organization that offer education and training programs designed to help entry level job seekers prepare themselves to meet their fire service career goals.

So You Want to Become a Firefighter Brochure

CA State Fire Training Accredited Program List

Career Programs within Santa Clara County:

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL Fire)
Apply for Firefighter 1 as a seasonal, temporary classification. Must be 18 years of age at time of appointment. File an application between the first of November through the last business day of January. Applications must be filed at each CAL Fire Unit where you wish to be considered for employment. More information.

Volunteer and Explorer Programs within Santa Clara County

Milpitas Fire Department
Milpitas Fire Explorer Program (ages 16-18 years) 
Emergency Preparedness Resources and additional information

Morgan Hill Fire Department (CAL Fire)
Explorer Post #810
For more information contact Thomas Olk: T904med@aol.com

Mountain View Fire Department
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Volunteers (ages 18 and up)

Palo Alto Fire Department
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Volunteers
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Explorer Scouts (ages 14-20)

San Jose Fire Department
Explorer Post #888
For more information contact Scott Diehl: scottcdiehl@yahoo.com

Santa Clara (City) Fire Department
Volunteer/Reserve Firefighter Program (ages 18 and up)

Santa Clara County Fire Department
Explorer Post #553
See below for more information.

Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety
Explorer Post #417 
Post #417 explores both the areas of fire services and law enforcement.
For more information contact: explorers@sunnyvale.ca.gov

Explorer Post

Santa Clara County Fire Department Explorer Post #553
Get your hands on the challenging field of fire and emergency services. Fire service exploring offers young men and women the chance to experience fire and emergency service career opportunities.


  • Must be between 14-18 years old and be in high school at time of application
  • Must reside within Santa Clara County
  • Must maintain a minimum of a 2.5 GPA


  • Occurs annually and will generally coincide with the beginning of the new school year.
  • If selected, new explorers must attend and successfully complete a mini-academy over three weekends where you will learn basic skills and fire department organization.
  • After graduating from the academy, you will then be expected to attend drills that are held every other Saturday at our drill tower in Campbell from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Growth Opportunities:

  • In addition to the regular scheduled drills, Explorers will also have opportunities to visit and train with other fire departments to learn about specialty equipment and acquired skills for such equipment. Opportunities may include: Moffett Field for aircraft firefighting, Cal Fire for wildland training, Santa Cruz for water rescue, etc.
  • These visits will be in addition to regular scheduled training. 

Explorer Post Flyer

For more information, please contact (408) 378-4010 or via email.