Over the past couple of months we’ve informed you of what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter here in your community. Whether you live in Patterson, Westley, Grayson, Crows Landing, Newman, or Diablo Grande, the requirements (and the commitment) are the same.
When considering joining our organization, the following questions may come up; “how much time do I need to dedicate to training” and, “how much time will I be required to be away from my job?” The answer to the first question varies on the level of involvement our volunteers want to commit to.
Initially, the required training hours are approximately 156 hours. This will provide “basic” firefighter training including structural firefighting, fighting wildland fires, CPR and First Aid, learning about noses and nozzles, working with ropes, and other classes that will teach you the initial skills to assist others in the event of an emergency.
Additional training is offered for those individuals that are looking to do more; perhaps someone who is looking at beginning a fulltime career as a firefighter; someone looking to gain a further, more in-depth knowledge of the fire service, or someone wanting to do more with their new-found skills, knowledge, and abilities. Whichever track you choose, we’re here to get you going in the right direction.
The second question is easy to answer. We understand you wanting to help out your community, but there must be priorities set-forth in your life, and we take these priorities very seriously.
First, is your family – you must take care of their needs prior to anyone else’s. Second, is your employer – without you working, it’s very hard to take care of your first priority. With that, open communication with your employer and the endeavor you’re taking on is paramount. We want you to partner with your employer, discussing what the requirements are, and should you need to periodically adjust your schedule to attend a particular training, attend classes, or even respond to assist someone in need, your employer will understand and work with you, as well as the Fire District.
We have a great rapport with many local (and not so local) employers throughout the valley and beyond that work with us, and you as the employee, by allowing you to participate as needed in delivering public safety to our community.
This is who we are...
Since September 10, 2008, local volunteer firefighter Justen Engstrume has been servicing the West Side and the vast Diablo Grande region as part of West Stanislaus County’s Fire Protection District. He has had five and a-half years of experience in the position, and is also actively engaged within the region as a guest service member for Troon Golf and the Diablo Grande golfing community.
Engstrume said it was important to give back to the community, and felt it necessary to volunteer his services after becoming the victim of a car crash years prior. Now Engstrume hopes to pay his respects forward to those in similar situations. Engstrume is also interested in how versatile the position is, considering the fact that “no two days or calls are the same.”
Engstrume said his current aspiration is to become a full-time career firefighter. As of now, he is currently working towards becoming a fire inspector or prevention officer, he said.
Engstrume’s other hobbies include graphic design, hockey and drawing.