New Membership Process

Joining the fire department is a smooth and easy process, although the entire process may take from six to eight weeks.  In some instances, such as when the start date for a needed training class is approaching, this timeline can be shortened to bring in a member in time to take the class.  Here is a step-by-step outline of the normal process of becoming a member. 

Application Process

Before applying - If you have any questions, please let us know you are interested by filling out the quick on-line form at info.houghtonvfd.org.  We will get in touch with you as soon as possible to give you info and answer your questions.

Application - When you are ready to start the process, you simply need to fill out the on-line application form at apply.houghtonvfd.org

Interview - The president or designee will schedule an interview with you and the membership review committee.  The committee will want to get to know you a bit and will want to answer your questions about serving with the department.  At the interview you may be given a few pieces of paperwork to fill out related to the application process and you should bring your driver's license (if any) with you for us to photocopy.

Wait - Once the membership review committee approves your application, it will be forwarded to the executive committee.  If the executive committee review is favorable, it will be presented to the membership at the next regular monthly meeting.

Introduction to the department - You will be requested to be present at that monthly meeting to introduce yourself to the members and to answer any questions they may have for you (typically very few if any questions).  

Voting - Normally, your application will then be tabled for a vote at the next regular meeting after your introduction, but sometimes it may be voted on right away, after you have left the meeting.  If the membership votes to approve your application, you will be notified as soon as possible.

Swearing in - At the next regular meeting you will be sworn in as a probationary member.

Probationary period - Although you are now a probationary member, you will not advance to full member status until you are approved by the membership review committee after six months of active membership and/or completion of the first level of training in your chosen role.

Government Regulation Compliance

To comply with government regulations, new members must meet three one-time requirements:

  • Pass a specific physical examination - New members must pass the required physical examination for the county self-insurance program which covers you while responding to emergencies.  This physical is very brief, is paid for by the county, and can be performed by local doctors.  At your interview, you will be given paperwork that we will submit to get you a voucher to take to a local doctor for the free physical examination.  For EMT/CFRs, this can typically be combined with the physical required for the EMT class.
  • Pass an arson background check  - New York state law requires that fire departments perform an arson background check on all new members.  You will be given paperwork at the interview related to gathering information for this background check which will be performed by the county sheriff.
  • Complete two NIMS Courses - New members must complete two brief federally-mandated on-line self-study classes offered by FEMA, namely IS-100.b and IS-700.a.  These courses introduce the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS).  The courses are estimated to take about three hours each. New members should start taking the course as soon as they are voted in as members.  The links above can be used to access the course material.  After the courses are complete, a Certificate of Completion will be e-mailed to you, which should be forwarded to the department.  Student EMTs must complete these two on-line courses before they are permitted to start the EMT class, so they typically complete them during Christmas break.  They must have them completed before being sworn in as members at the January department meeting.