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  Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements to join the Parker Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD)?
Is there anything else that will help my application be accepted by the department?
I do not meet all of the above criteriaCan I still apply?
Where do I send my completed application?
 I have filled out my application.  Now what happens?
Should I include a resume with my application?
I have been accepted for an interview and I have been asked to come to the fire station for a job-related physical assessment.  What can I expect?
How long does it take from the time I drop off my application until I am accepted to the fire department?
How much time will I be expected to contribute?
How many calls does PVFD respond to in an average year?
Am I expected to attend all emergency calls?
I am not around all the time, or I work shift work or at times I would just not be available to respond to calls or attend the training sessions.  Does this pose a problem?
I realize this is a volunteer fire department, but is there any compensation for attending practices or emergency calls?
I have never belonged to a fire department or never had any special training dealing with fire emergencies.  Am I wasting my time applying to be a volunteer firefighter?
Who certifies volunteer firefighters?
How many fire stations are there? Where are they located?
What type(s) of calls do you respond to?
Does the department provide emergency medical services?
Are there any full time staff working on the fire department?
I am a little apprehensive about being the “new kid on the block”.
What are the duties of a volunteer firefighter?
What items will I be specifically trained in as a volunteer firefighter?
How many volunteer firefighters are on the department?
What area does PVFD provide coverage for?
How long do you keep completed applications on file?










































 







 

 









1.     What are the requirements to join the Parker Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD)?

To qualify for membership, applicants should meet the following criteria:

A)   Be a minimum of 18 years of age

B)   High School Diploma or GED

C)   Pass a background investigation

D)   Pass a toxicology screen (drug test)

E)   Pass a physical ability assessment

F)    Live and/or work within a reasonable response time to the station, or commit to serving several regular and predetermined shifts each month

G)   Be prepared to commit the necessary time and effort to train and serve as a volunteer firefighter.

H)  Attain Class B Driver's License within 6 months of joining





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2.     Is there anything else that will help my application be accepted by the department?

Yes.  Proof of current fire and/or EMS certifications, proof of experience as a paid or volunteer firefighter or EMS professional, letters of reference from fire professionals, and proof of specialized skill training or experience will all help.

To be a successful firefighter, you must be able to follow directions.  Failure to properly complete the application packet may be grounds for rejection.  This is a simple mistake, and is easily avoidable by paying close attention to the directions offered in the application packet.  If you have any questions about the application packet, please contact a Recruiting and Retention representative. We will be happy to help you.  Please be sure to sign all signatures in the packet in blue ink.





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3.     I do not meet all of the above criteria.  Can I still apply?

Yes, we strongly recommend that you still fill out the application form.  If you are almost qualified, we may be able to process your application so you will be ready to join when you meet the qualifications.  We also understand that everyone’s circumstances are unique, and we may be able to work with you to help you through certain qualification issues.

Not all types of criminal offenses will automatically preclude you from serving as a member of our department.  Please ask a Recruiting and Retention representative if you have questions about a specific item in your background.





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4.     Where do I send my completed application?

You should submit your completed application to City Hall, at 5700 Parker Road, Parker, Texas, 75002.  You may also submit your application directly to the Fire Department, during times when PVFD staff are present to accept it.





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5.     I have filled out my application.  Now what happens?

The Recruitment and Retention representative will review your application for suitability.  The R&R representative will usually call applicants to have an informal telephone interview.  This gives us a chance to ask any questions brought out by the application, and allows you to ask any questions you may have.  Then, a background check is conducted.  Upon successful completion of the background investigation, the applicant is contacted to submit to a toxicological screening (drug test) and physical ability assessment.  Then, a formal interview is scheduled.  This interview will consist of the applicant, an R&R representative, an officer, and one or more experienced firefighters or Engineers.  A Chief may participate in this interview, or a separate Chief’s interview may be scheduled.  Once all of these steps are completed, the applicant’s final status is discussed between representatives from Chiefs, Officers and R&R.  If it is decided that the applicant has successfully passed all phases of the process, they will be offered a probationary position.

 

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6.     Should I include a resume with my application?

Including a resume is not necessary, but may offer additional information we can use to decide if you are a good fit for the department.  It might offer an additional way for you to showcase yourself.





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7.     I have been accepted for an interview and I have been asked to come to the fire station for a job-related physical assessment.  What can I expect?

Our physical ability assessment is designed to help us (and you) decide if you are physically capable of performing under the circumstances under which we typically operate.  We do not expect candidates to possess any job-related expertise for this test.  We will demonstrate any skills the candidate requires, and asking for a skills demonstration will in no way count against you.  The test is designed to expose the candidate to heights, confined spaces, bunker gear, wearing an air mask, zero visibility work, and lifting and/or moving heavy objects. 




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8.     How long does it take from the time I drop off my application until I am accepted to the fire department?

We are continuously improving and refining our recruitment process, so that is a difficult question to answer.  We are currently focusing our efforts toward bringing in “classes” of new recruits twice per year.  So, a successful candidate will typically be accepted within 6 months of applying.  However, due to staffing considerations, the process may be completed much more quickly than that.





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9.     How much time will I be expected to contribute?

If you live within our immediate response area (approximately 2.5 miles from the station), you will be expected to regularly attend Tuesday night training sessions, as well as a few hours every third Sunday for apparatus checkoffs.  You will also be expected to respond to as many calls as you can.  Periodically, we have opportunities to participate in special events in our community, and you will be expected to participate in as many of those as possible.

If you live and work outside of our immediate response area, you will be expected to spend several hours per week at the station, in order to participate in some of the above activities.





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10. How many calls does PVFD respond to in an average year?

Our call volume fluctuates greatly from season to season, and year to year.  Currently, we average 2-3 calls per week.  We may, at times, average 2 calls per day, or as few as one call per week.





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11. Am I expected to attend all emergency calls?

Members are expected to respond to every emergency call.  However, we realize that you have other commitments in your life.  If a work or family commitment stops you from responding to a call, we understand.  We ask that members keep in mind that our primary purpose is to provide services for our citizens, and to be available to perform those services as often as possible.  If your officer develops a concern about your participation level, they will have a conversation with you about it.  If it is determined that you are not willing or able to maintain a suitable level of availability, we may ask that you forfeit your position with the department.





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12. I am not around all the time, or I work shift work or at times I would just not be available to respond to calls or attend the training sessions.  Does this pose a problem?

We understand that you have family, work and/or school commitments, and recognize that you will not always be available for calls, events or training.  However, we do require a reasonable amount of participation.  If you have specific concerns about your intended participation level, please contact the Recruiting and Retention representative to discuss it.





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13. I realize this is a volunteer fire department, but is there any compensation for attending practices or emergency calls?

Yes.  Members are provided compensation toward their transportation expenses to and from the station for certain official business.  This compensation comes from a yearly fund.  The fund amount is split into quarters.  Each yearly quarter, the quarterly amount is divided by the number of official events that occurred during that quarter, deriving an average amount each event is worth.  Each member is then compensated for the number of events they participated in, at the per-event rate.  The event rate is typically between $5.00-$10.00 per event.  However, past statistics do not guarantee future activity levels.





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14. I have never belonged to a fire department or never had any special training dealing with fire emergencies.  Am I wasting my time applying to be a volunteer firefighter?

Absolutely not! Training is available in abundance. It is an ongoing process, and a very high priority in our department. You will have the opportunity to learn new skills and expand your knowledge at in-house training sessions held most Tuesday evenings from 1900-2100 hours. Several of our volunteer members have even gone on to pursue paid firefighting positions in other communities.

All new members without prior firefighting certification are initially enrolled in Collin County Community College’s (CCCC) 167 hour Intro/Basic Volunteer Fire Training Program, located at their McKinney campus. This program is paid for by the county’s Excellence Fund and is available at no cost to the candidate. The classes typically meet Thursday nights from 1800-2200 and Saturdays from 0800-1700.

Some members prefer to attend other fire academies located in the North Texas area. Some have accelerated programs that may be substantially completed through on-line, web-based instruction.  If such training is approved by the Training Officer, tuition for training may be reimbursed in accordance with our Standard Operating Guidelines.

Training opportunities, especially those involving specialized rescue, also exist at surrounding fire departments and at Texas A&M at College Station.

All fire/rescue and EMS training is compliant with curriculum standards of the State Firefighter’s and Fire Marshal’s Association (SFFMA), the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP), the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  All of our instructors are certified by one or more of these agencies. They ensure that training is not only conducted in a safe and efficient manner, but that it remains a rewarding and enjoyable learning experience for our members.





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15. Who certifies volunteer firefighters?

Texas volunteer firefighters are not required by state law to be certified.  However, our department, as well as most other volunteer fire departments in Texas, voluntarily adhere to the training curriculum of the State Firefighter’s and Fire Marshal’s Association (SFFMA) of Texas. This organization will certify volunteer firefighters at the Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Master levels..  Its training curriculum mirrors that of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP).

Career firefighters in Texas are required by law to be certified by TCFP – a state agency. They generally receive their training through state-certified training academies.

Volunteer firefighters who have achieved SFFMA Advanced certification, and hold emergency medical certification, may challenge the TCFP examination to become TCFP-certified basic structural firefighters.  Several of our members have done so.

PVFD does not certify firefighters, but coordinates with SFFMA to provide recognized training to them so that they may obtain certification. For safety, we do require that our members achieve at least SFFMA Basic certification before engaging in structural firefighting activities.





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16. How many fire stations are there? Where are they located?

We currently have one fire station, located at 5700 Parker Road, Parker, Texas, 75002.

 





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17. What type(s) of calls do you respond to?

Typically, we respond to structure fires, grass fires, motor vehicle collisions, injured persons, medical calls, alarms (fire, smoke, carbon monoxide, etc), utility shutoffs, odor investigations, etc. 

People typically call 911 because they don’t know who else to call for help.  This means that a citizen may call us for virtually anything.  We must be prepared to adapt our training and skills for any situation.





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18. Does the department provide emergency medical services?

Yes.  We are a TDSHS First Responder department, providing Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support services.  We rely on East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) for ambulance services, but we provide on-scene prehospital care, up to and including Paramedic level.





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19. Are there any full time staff working on the fire department?

No.  All members, from the Fire Chief to the newest recruit, are volunteers.

 





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20. I am a little apprehensive about being the “new kid on the block”.

There is no need to worry.  Each new member is assigned to an experienced firefighter, who will act as a mentor.  Your officer is also available to help with any questions.  We understand that recruits will need training and guidance, and do our best to provide the necessary support.





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21. What are the duties of a volunteer firefighter?

As a volunteer firefighter, you will:

A)   respond to emergency calls of all types within Parker’s fire district, or provide mutual aid assistance to surrounding communities

B)   train towards professional qualifications as a structural firefighter as set out by SFFMA and/or TCFP curriculum and NFPA standards

C)   be part of a team that keeps the equipment and apparatus ready for the next emergency call

D)   keep the fire station neat and tidy

E)   be placed, depending on your interests and skills, and after a suitable time, on one of several committees to manage administrative and/or equipment duties.  Examples include Recruitment & Retention, Emergency Medical Services, Information Technology, Communications, and Apparatus Maintenance.





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22. What items will I be specifically trained in as a volunteer firefighter?

You will receive training in many areas, compliant with SFFMA and TCFP curricula, and NFPA standards.  These include, but may not be limited to:

a)    Use of self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)

b)   Search and Rescue

c)    First Aid

d)   Ropes and knots

e)    Radio communications

f)     Incident command

g)    Pump operations and hydraulics

h)   Hose handling

i)     Ventilation

j)     Fire prevention

k)    Salvage and overhaul

l)     Ladders

m)  Fire extinguishers

n)   Hazardous Materials





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23. How many volunteer firefighters are on the department?

Currently, we attempt to maintain a roster of approximately 40 firefighters.  Target staffing levels will periodically change as dictated by the needs of our citizens.





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24. What area does PVFD provide coverage for?

PVFD provides coverage to approximately 3500 people within the city limits of Parker, and areas of Collin County within the city’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). We have mutual aid agreements with surrounding cities and will respond to those cities when requested.  We have automatic aid agreements with the cities of Lucas and Fairview, which means that all three cities will respond to structure fires in any of those cities.





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25. How long do you keep completed applications on file?

We typically keep applications active for one year.





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