Volunteer Opportunities

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. 

Explorer Post #553 (Ages 14-18) 
Santa Clara County Fire Department

Note: This program is currently on hiatus and we are not accepting applications. Keep checking back to see if there is any new information. We thank you for your understanding.

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

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.

Volunteer Explorer Program Flyer

Explorer Transition into a Volunteer Program 
(Emergency or Non-Emergency Response Program)

Upon reaching 18 years of age, Santa Clara County Fire Department Explorers may apply to the Volunteer program. Those meeting the requirements of an Emergency Response Volunteer Firefighter, and the following criteria, will be granted an oral board interview.

  • Must be an explorer in good standing
  • Receive a favorable recommendation from the Explorer Post #553 Coordinator

Explorers that are accepted into the Volunteer program, and that have a completed a California State Fire Marshal approved Firefighter 1 academy may begin their 6-month evaluation period prior to the completion of the 6-week academy. However, all Explorers are required to complete the 6-week academy when offered. Failure to complete the Volunteer Academy may be cause for removal from the division.

Volunteer Programs within County Fire

County Fire Volunteer programs provide training and practical experience to those interested in pursuing firefighting as a profession. Through regular training, ride-a-longs and participation in organized public education activities, the volunteer will experience a glimpse of what firefighters do on a daily basis.

Emergency Response Volunteer


  • Prospective Emergency Response Volunteers must have one of the following:

Successfully completed a California State Fire Marshal Accredited Firefighter 1 Academy held at either an accredited California Community College that is approved as an Accredited Regional Training Program (ARTP) or an Accredited Local Academy (ALA) hosted by an authority having jurisdiction. For a current list of ARTPs and ALAs, visit the State Fire Training website at: http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/training/accreditedacademies


Possess a California State Fire Marshal Firefighter I Certification or out-of-state IFSAC and/or Pro Board Fire Fighter I certification or Department of Defense (DoD) issued Fire Fighter I which includes IFSAC and/or Pro Board seal(s). For more information on Firefighter I reciprocity, please visit the State Fire Training website at: http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/training/firefighter1

  • Must successfully complete a California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee, Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) within 12 months of their appointment date (as evidenced by a CPAT card),
  • Must successfully complete a comprehensive background investigation.
  • Must successfully complete the Volunteer Academy and a six (6) month probationary period.
  • Successful completion of the six (6) month probationary period will include required skills completion, documented via the Volunteer Firefighter Taskbook.
  • Must reside within 30 minutes of a Department fire station. The method for determining time and distance of travel will be accomplished using standard commonly accessible web-based map services that use Global Positioning Satellite data technology (Google Maps, MapQuest, Apple Maps).
  • Additionally, all volunteers must maintain a current DMV license and American Heart Association CPR certification.

Non-Emergency Response Volunteer

Non-Emergency Response Volunteer assignments will be based on the needs of the Department and at the Direction of the Training Division Chief.

Examples of non-emergency response assignments may include:

  • Engine 973 Coordinator (requires maintenance of appropriate driver’s license)
  • Community Education Liaison
  • Saratoga Historic Fire Apparatus Coordinator (requires maintenance of appropriate driver’s license)
  • Volunteer Records Coordinator
  • Volunteer Communications Coordinator
  • Volunteer Equipment Coordinator

Non-Emergency Response Volunteers must reside in Santa Clara County. 

Apply to Become a Volunteer

Please follow the steps below to create a profile on our server so that we can contact you when the position opens:

1. Go to our website: www.sccfd.org
2. Select the pull-down tab at the top, ‘Employment and Careers’.
3. Select ‘Current Openings’.
4. Scroll down to the third header on the page titled “FUTURE JOB POSTING NOTIFICATION (JOB INTEREST SUBMITTAL). Click the link within that paragraph to create a profile.
5. Create a profile with username and password. Please note, you can attach your resume here as well.
6. Once a profile is created, please select all positions you are interested in applying for. Volunteer Firefighter is the last option. You can update any of the selections at any time by logging into your profile.

You will be notified when a selected position opens.

For more information about County Fire Volunteer Programs, please contact the Training Division (408) 378-4010 or email.

Other 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

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: sanjoseexplorerpost888@gmail.com

Santa Clara (City) Fire Department
Volunteer/Reserve Firefighter Program

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