Los Angeles Fire Department’s crew of volunteer firefighters

Los Angeles Fire Department's Crew 3 volunteers
Los Angeles Fire Department Crew 3 constructs fireline. Screenshot from LAFD video below.

Volunteer firefighters are the backbone of many fire departments around the world — many active departments have no paid personnel. Usually volunteer firefighters are found in small or perhaps medium-sized towns and cities, especially in rural areas.

I have to admit —  I was surprised to discover that the second most populous city in the United States has volunteer firefighters. Los Angeles, with a population of almost 4 million people, uses volunteers in their Fire Department on what they call Crew 3, a crew that uses hand tools to construct fireline on the edge of fires in order to stop the spread.

Every member on the crew must take the required online training courses, pass the Pack Test, and then participate in two weeks of field training.

Most of the crew members hope the experience on the crew will pave the way to a full time job with the fire department.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “Los Angeles Fire Department’s crew of volunteer firefighters”

  1. I find articles like this to be very encouraging. I joined my first volunteer department in 1973. I was 13 and joined as a junior fireman. That is also the first year I ever drove a truck to a fire because I was the only one who showed up, and am now 60 years old and still at it. There is a lot to be said for the spirit of the departments and the volunteers have it all over when it comes to that.

  2. Well, that rocks. Attention wannabes: Volunteering (on a fire crew anywhere) won’t GET you a job on a paid fire crew, but assuming you’re not let go, it will surely help.


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