City Hall administrative offices will be closed Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day. Emergency services continue 24/7. More info.

Reserve Firefighter

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Volunteer Reserves Image

Job Description

The Reserve Division of the Santa Clara Fire Department serves as a supplemental resource to the Fire Department’s Suppression Division. Previous fire service experience is not required. All reserve firefighters are put through a mini academy and then provided on-going routine training in standard rescue and firefighting procedures. During station duty, reserve firefighters work as the second firefighter with an engine or truck company. "Off-duty" reserve firefighters may also respond individually to structure fires to provide assistance.

In a normal month, a reserve will have opportunities to receive approximately 20 to 30 hours of fire service training and numerous hours of actual incident experience.
Basic training includes:

  • Instruction in SCBA use
  • Ventilation procedures
  • Common hose operations
  • Common ladder operations
  • Fire service tools
  • Hoisting and lifting procedures
  • Salvage and overhaul procedures
  • Fire behavior and control
  • Care and maintenance of fire department equipment
  • And physical fitness.

In addition, volunteer firefighters will be certified in basic first-aid and CPR. All volunteer firefighters are expected to maintain proficiency in firefighting skills by attending regularly scheduled training drills. Additional minimum activity requirements are described below.

Reserve firefighters are allowed to work in IDLH environments. Reserve firefighters are required to demonstrate proficiency in all required firefighting skills by obtaining the State Fire Marshal's Firefighter I certification. "Non-certified" volunteer firefighters will therefore typically be assigned to support exterior fire ground operations. 

Serving as a reserve firefighter is an excellent way to make a tangible contribution to your community. Reserve firefighters experience life in the fire service first-hand and are rewarded with memories and friendship that last a lifetime. The Santa Clara Fire Department is one of the most recognized departments in the State, if not the Country! People interested in a career in the fire service are therefore also provided with an excellent introduction to the firefighting community and given the opportunity to gain invaluable firefighting experience.

Reserve firefighters are not financially compensated for their services. Each reserve company is however provided with funding for company meetings and discretionary equipment for its members. Reserve firefighters are also provided with all required firefighting personal protective equipment.

Requirements To Be A Reserve Firefighter

Eligibility Requirements
People interested in applying to the City of Santa Clara’s Reserve Firefighter Program must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Live within 10 minutes response to any Fire Station (see map)
  • Current CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test) Card
  • Completion of Firefighter I Academy (State Fire Marshal Firefighter I not required)
  • Valid California driver’s license
  • Proof of vehicle insurance
  • Minimum of 18 years of age
  • Be able to meet the Personal Appearance and Grooming Standard policy

Activity Requirements
This is a volunteer organization, and it can be difficult at times to find a good work/life/volunteer balance, but because of the significant resources devoted to the Reserve Division, there are minimum activity requirements that must be met. Please consider this before applying. All members are required to meet the following minimum activity requirements:

  • Minimum monthly requirements
    • 16 hours a month (drills, calls, station duty, community service)
  • Attend monthly company meetings
  • Attend mandatory Department activities (ex. Chief’s Inspection)
  • Obtain and maintain certification
  • Obey the V/R Bylaws and Department policies
  • Maintain all mandatory training certifications
  • Maintain a valid driver’s license and vehicle insurance
  • Failure to meet the minimum activity requirements may result in dismissal from the Division.
Grooming Policy
Members of the Santa Clara Fire Department, while on-duty and/or in uniform, represent the City of Santa Clara as well as the Fire Department. While on duty, members of the department shall be neat, clean, and maintain a professional appearance at all times. Tattoos/brands are permissible as long as they are not visible while wearing an approved Santa Clara Fire Department class of uniform. Tattoos/brands located above the clavicles are prohibited. Tattoos located below the wrist are prohibited. All tattoos/brands must be completely covered at all times while on duty. If an employee has a visible tattoo from the cuff of a short sleeve shirt down, it must be covered at all times while on duty or when representing the Department in any official capacity.


If you have read the job description and requirements and are interested in becoming a reserve firefighter for the City of Santa Clara, please apply! Applications can be submitted online throughout the year.

Selection Process
The selection process consists of the following components:
  • Oral board interviews
  • Background exam
  • Medical exam

Testing for reserve firefighters generally occurs on a bi-annual basis.

Reserve Firefighter Brochure

View Full Site