Become a Member Membership Form
We have about 47 active Firefighters and EMTs. The Active Volunteers are supplemented by a force of Veteran & Associate Members who help with non-emergency functions of the organization, as well as numerous friends of the fire company in the community.
Active membership is open, subject to specifics in our by-laws and policies, to persons at least 16 years old. Volunteers may choose to be active as firefighters, medical responders, or both. Associates are volunteers who want to help the fire company, but not respond to emergencies. Members who have many years on the department, and wish to continue to contribute but at a lower level of participation may be moved to Veteran status.
Our volunteers do not receive any direct compensation. However the Mortlake Fire Company offers a stipend for participation on ambulance duty.
The members of Mortlake contribute about 9000 man hours of service to their community each year in operations, training, and support of the company, without direct financial rewards.
What can I expect if I join?
Many people find membership in the fire company very rewarding. It’s an opportunity to do some good, help your neighbors, learn new things and make some new friends. It’s also a fair amount of work. There is quite a bit of training, some required by the department and other training mandated by OSHA for your safety. It also means personal discomfort sometimes when you have to get up in the middle of night or work in bad weather conditions. But most people find it a very satisfying experience.
Once you put in an application, you will be contacted by the Admissions Committee which helps to welcome new members. Applicants for active membership will receive a physical examination and health assessment at no cost to the applicant. This physical serves a dual purpose of screening for pre-existing conditions for purposes of Workers Compensation if you are later injured and for conducting OSHA required tests, such as Spirometery to make sure you can wear a respirator when necessary. The physician may place restrictions, such as fit for duty except when respirators are required or limit the weight you are allowed to lift. We do request that you are seen by our recommended physicians, as they are familiar with the regulatory requirements for Firefighters and EMTs. Most of our members also have to be tested for TB annually and be periodically seen by a Physician on a time-frame set by the physician for each member — usually between 1 and 5 years depending on age and health.
If you’re interested in fighting fires, the first step when you join is an approximately three month period of attending weekly “probationary training” meetings where you learn the history of company, how we operate, what we call our trucks, and where equipment is carried — and we carry a lot of it! In addition, you’re expected to also attend the two evening drills each month, and we usually have a Sunday morning drill every couple of months.
As you become settled in with the department, a new member is strongly encouraged to take Firefighter I training. These classes are usually offered in the region on evening or weekend schedules and you can choose which is best for you. Firefighter I covers the basic tools and techniques used to do our job — advancing and using hose lines, raising and climbing ladders, using hand tools and many other subjects. At the completion of the class, you will take an exam administered by the State to demonstrate your mastery of the skills to National Standards. Many of our members continue on to earn Firefighter II certification which includes more advanced techniques, intermediate theory on firefighting and the basic handling of Hazardous Materials (oil & chemical spills). Members can not enter a burning structure without being certified as a Firefighter I.
There are also certain classes that are mandatory to attend so the Company can comply with OSHA Regulations. These include annual Blood & Airborne Pathogen (Disease) Protection, Hazardous Materials Awareness, SCBA use and SCBA Fit Testing (SCBAs are the air bottles we wear when there is smoke and/or other hazardous atmospheres).
Medical responders attend the Emergency Medical Technician class put on at Quinebaug Valley Community College each fall and spring, and leading to certification by the State Office of Emergency Medical Services as a Basic EMT. This training includes evaluating patients, splinting and stabilizing injuries and communicating with the nurses and physicians at the ER. Recently, more advanced techniques such as Defibrillation, improved airways and IM Epinephrine (EpiPen) that formerly required a Paramedic have also been moved to the basic level in Connecticut. As a perk to College students, the EMT course is worth 7 College Credits! Medical members are also expected to attend a monthly evening drill, a 24 hour (usually two weekends) refresher every two years and occasional special training — plus the annual Bloodborne/Airborne Pathogens Training and TB testing sessions.
We also have active members who are just Drivers. Any member wishing to drive must be at least 21 years old, train on the truck they will drive with an experienced driver and be checked off by an Officer before they are allowed to operate the truck alone. To operate the large trucks, members must earn a minimum of a Connecticut Class 2Q drivers license and we strongly encourage members to earn a CDL Class B license. There is very little difference between the requirements for each and the 2Q limits you to operating only fire engines.
In addition to the training, our members also should attend the monthly business meeting and will be scheduled for one to two Sunday morning cleanup crews each year. Members attend an annual major cleanup in the spring and fall and help out at our fundraisers.
Averaged out over time, you’re probably looking at a time commitment of at least 12 hours per month, with many active members putting in around 20 and our officers and directors around 25 hours a month. Members on the ambulance also sign up for shifts (they stay in town during this shift) to provide a medical crew if needed. On average, you’ll make one 1 hour long run for every 24 hours of time you cover — so if you run 12-8 every Saturday, every third week you’ll have a call. Of course, it could work out that you have 5 calls in one shift, then not much for the next few months. New members should realize that the first few years will involve quite a bit of training as you learn about emergency services… and as a fire company we also recognize the need to be flexible with your work and school schedules and excuse you from fire company activities when you have to work or go to school.
One other note, your necessary equipment and uniforms are paid for by the Fire Company and we will reimburse you for outside training. Members who can not afford to pay up front for a class (for example, the EMT course) may approach an officer in private and arrangements will be made so you can attend the training you want.
If you’re interested in volunteering, please stop by the station when you see people there. Monday evenings and Sunday mornings usually are very good times. You can also send us a message via the contact form below.
Membership Contact Form