1. What is the CTFD?
The Cheltenham Township Fire Department is made up of five, all volunteer, fire companies, each with a distinct coverage area and operating out of its own firehouse. The members of the five companies, Glenside, LaMott, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, and Ogontz, work together to respond to fire/rescue and other emergencies in Cheltenham Township and the surrounding areas.

2. Who makes up the CTFD?
The Department is made up of volunteers from all walks of life. We are students, lawyers, doctors, nurses, police officers, electricians, soldiers, and accountants. We are men and women and we are young and young at heart. We are all united through our service to the community, and no matter what we do for a living, we’re all firefighters when the siren sounds.

3. Who can join?
The CTFD is looking for members of the community who have a sincere desire to give back and to serve their neighbors. In order to join the Department, an applicant must be at least 16 years of age and be able to pass a police background check and baseline physical. Aside from those requirements, there is always something to be done and help is always needed. Even if you are not able to be a firefighter there are always administrative duties that need to be filled. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re needed, just ask…you might be surprised! We encourage you to fill out a questionnaire to speak with the recruitment coordinator so that we can discuss your situation further.

4. What are the benefits of joining the CTFD?
Like anything else, you get out of the Department what you put into it. There are many reasons to get involved and even more reasons to stay. Aside from the lifelong friendships you’ll forge and the invaluable experience and training you’ll receive, there are perks and incentives to keep you interested and dedicated.

5. How much time is required?
Being a firefighter is one of the most rewarding experiences around, but it also one of the most serious. As such, training to do the job safely and effectively is paramount. To start, every firefighter will successfully complete “Firefighter One” which is a nationally certified basic training course spanning 180 hours. This class is typically offered at the county fire academy and sometimes at local firehouses as well. After that, the training is moved in house and is conducted at weekly “drill nights” at each individual station. The drill nights last from two to four hours, depending upon whether the training is at your station or an outside training facility. You can expect two to five calls each week at various times of the day. Administrative meetings may be held one to three times per month and there are also social events periodically throughout the year.

6. How much does it cost to apply?
There is no cost to apply! Furthermore, once your application is accepted, the department will pay for your physical, your background check, and all of your training. The Department will also provide you with all the firefighting equipment and materials necessary to keep you safe and effective. All you need to bring is your dedication, devotion, and motivation…we’ll supply the rest!

7. How will I know when I’m needed and where to go?
All CTFD firefighters are issued a lightweight, rechargeable pager. This pager alerts the firefighter as to the nature of the call and the firefighter will then respond to his/her station, don turnout gear, board the truck, and proceed to the incident.

8. Do I have to live in Cheltenham Township to volunteer?
Each fire company within CTFD has slightly different bylaws regarding residency. We encourage you to fill out a questionnaire to speak with the recruitment coordinator so that we can discuss your situation further.

9. Will I receive payment for my time?
All training courses, gear, and equipment are provided free of charge to our members. Since the department is an all volunteer organization, there is no payment for time spent responding to calls. However, CTFD currently offers a nominal reimbursement for time spent on certified training programs.

10. Where does the training occur?
Training is conducted at individual firehouses, the Township fire training facility, Montgomery or Bucks County training centers, or other local areas conducive to the type of training being held.

11. Do I have to purchase any equipment or pay for training classes?
No, after acceptance into a fire company, all training and gear will be provided at absolutely no cost.

12. How many calls am I required to respond to and/or how much time am I required to spend at the station?
Most of the fire companies utilize a point system to determine the membership status of an individual firefighter. These systems factor in the amount of calls made, the training courses attended, as well as participation in administrative meetings or events. A good rule of thumb is to be prepared to respond to at least 25% of your station’s calls and events. Once you catch the bug you’ll find 25% feels like nothing!

13. Does CTFD provide Emergency Medical Services and do I need to be a certified EMT?
The CTFD has the privilege of working with Cheltenham Township EMS, which handles all the medical calls in the Township. As such, firefighters do not need to be certified to the EMT level. Every firefighter is however required to attend and complete CPR and basic first aid training, which is usually conducted at the station once a year.

14. Do I need previous firefighting experience?
No. The CTFD prides itself in educating people to be the best firefighter they can be. While previous experience is helpful, all you really need is dedication to learn and we’ll do our best to turn you into a capable firefighter!

15. How soon after joining can I respond to calls?
A new member can start responding to fire calls as soon as he/she is cleared for membership, passes a general health physical, and is approved to ride by the Officer in Charge.

16. What is a “blue light” and how can I get one?
Blue lights – also known as courtesy lights, are beacons used by firefighters responding to the firehouse in their personal vehicles. Blue lights grant the firefighter no special privileges but merely inform other motorists that the driver of the vehicle is responding to an emergency. Each fire company has its own rules regarding who is allowed to use a blue-light, however, firefighters who have become certified to FF1 are typically eligible.

17. Does CTFD provide insurance?
Yes, the CTFD offers medical and disability insurance for injuries sustained in the line of duty.

18. I want to assist the fire department but I am not interested in fighting fires. How can I help?
Most fire companies in the township are always looking for professionals or dedicated individuals who are interested in helping with the administrative responsibilities of the fire service. If you think you have a skill or an interest that would be of use to a 501(c) non-profit organization, we encourage you to fill out a questionnaire to speak with the recruitment coordinator so that we can discuss your situation further.

19. I am interested in volunteering and would like to learn more. How can I speak directly with a membership coordinator?
Please fill out a questionnaire and the recruitment coordinator will be in touch with you shortly.

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