Reserve Firefighter

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Job Description

The Reserve Program 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 firefighter 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, reserve firefighters will be re-certified in CPR. All reserve 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. 

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. Participation in the reserve program meets the requirement for obtaining your State Fire Marshal Firefighter certification.

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:

  • Minimum of 18 years of age
  • Residency within the County of Santa Clara, CA or be enrolled at Mission College or enrolled at Santa Clara University
  • Adherence to Personal Appearance and Grooming Standard policy, including tattoos

Required License:

  • Possession of a valid state of California driver’s license with proof of insurance.

Required Certification:
Applicants must have the following certifications by the time of application:

  • Possession and maintain a valid CPR certification (American Heart Association or American Red Cross acceptable) at appointment. AHA Healthcare Professional, Basic Life Support (BLS) will be re-certified.
  • Either of the following:

Graduation from 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.


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.

    • California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) within the twelve (12) months prior to the first day of the agency specific training. For more information on where to obtain your CPAT card, go to:

    Driving Record, Background Investigation and Live Scan Fingerprint:
    If selected for the Reserve Program, the candidate will be required to provide a DMV driving record and successfully complete and pass a background investigation and Live Scan Fingerprint.

    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 Program, 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
      • 12 hours a month of station duty
      • 50% attendance of monthly drills
    • 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 Program.
    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. All reserve firefighters must meet Santa Clara Fire Department's Grooming Policy.

    Application And Selection Process

    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! APPLY HERE

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

    Testing for reserve firefighters generally occurs on a bi-annual basis. For more information contact Assistant Training Officer Anthony Pascoal at

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