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   Larry Chee, Fire Chief
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1. What is a Volunteer?
A volunteer is an individual who performs services without transactional (salary, health insurance, etc.) returns. The Navajo Nation Fire & Rescue Services operates on volunteer firefighters. However, our volunteers are compensated (depending on their qualifications) through a stipend on a per-call or event basis. This stipend is provided to help recuperate cost associated with volunteering – leaving work, vehicle wear and tear, etc. Many people associate volunteers with “unprofessional”, which is far from it. One way to look at volunteers is from a salary status and not a position status.

2. Why be a Volunteer if I don’t get paid?
People volunteer with an organization for a number of reasons. Although many volunteers do not receive transactional returns, meaning a salary, volunteers receive many relational and psychological returns. Current volunteers with the Navajo Nation Fire & Rescue Services find the job exciting, and enjoy the feeling that they are helping their community. Additional returns these members receive are in the form of a stipend, recognition, training and career development and opportunities.

3. What is the role of a volunteer?
Volunteers are an integral part of the Navajo Nation Fire Department. They alone are responsible for achieving almost 50% of bottom line organizational objectives and 90% of service delivery.

4. How do I become a volunteer firefighter?
Being a firefighter is hard work and requires the time for emergency response and training. It is physically and emotionally demanding and goes against many of the cultural beliefs of the Native people. It is a job that however needs to be done. Click here to find out on how to become a volunteer.

5. How do I become a paid firefighter?
Many organizations only hire firefighters when there is a slot available. It is very competitive and requires you to be in the best shape - both mentally and physically – and well educated and experienced. Like other organizations, positions are advertised. You have to contact their personnel management or human resource division. Click here to check for other job listings offered by the Navajo Nation.

6. What type of services do you provide?
The Navajo Nation Fire & Rescue Services exist to prevent and suppress fires. This however is not our only responsibility. The fire department provides all types of rescue services, from vehicle crash rescue to high angle rescue (cliffs) to water rescue (water and ice). Hazardous materials response is also a service we provide. A hazardous material is any substance that can cause harm to a person or the environment. A common type of hazardous material that travels our highways hundreds of times a day is the gasoline tanker. Others include liquid oxygen, sulfuric acid, propane, chlorine, radioactive material and the list goes on. Another service we provide is Emergency Medical Services, or pre-hospital care. Many firefighters are EMT certified and can perform services that the ambulance provides – except without the transport capability.

7. I need to get a CPR and Fire Safety Card?
The Navajo Nation Fire Department is very active in preventing fires through education. Each fire station conducts a number of fire safety classes to members in the community each month. Classes are normally four hours long and covers much of the information you would need to know to reduce the risk of fire and to get out alive. Upon successful completion of the class, students will be issued a wallet sized certificate that is good for one year.

Typically, we refer students wishing to attend a CPR class to contact the Navajo Nation Emergency Medical Services (928-871-6410). Your local fire station can direct you to the closest office to attend a CPR class. On occasion, we will hold CPR classes that cater to the public. You will need to contact your local fire station to determine if one will be held in your area. Please note that there can be a charge ($10.00 to $50.00) to attend a CPR class. The cost associated with a CPR class goes toward the purchase of the CPR cards, mannequin maintenance, and roster fees.

8. How do I get a copy of an incident report?
To obtain a copy of an incident report is dependent upon whether you are the victim or a third party. Victims can go directly to the fire station that provided the service and obtain a copy of the report. Proper identification will be required. Third party entities (i.e. insurance, etc.) will need to submit a request in writing. Typically, reports are public records, however because of certain information obtained, such as medical information and other private information, we may not be able to issue a report without a court order or approval from the victim.

9. Why did it take so long for the fire department to respond?
The Navajo Nation Fire Department is a volunteer fire service organization. What this means is that our firefighters are not paid, and are also not required to stay at the fire station. Because they have jobs elsewhere and other committments just like you, they respond to the fire station when a call is received. Depending on how far the volunteers live, their response to the fire station to pick up the fire truck can add anywhere from two to five minutes on top of their response to the emergency scene.

10. How do you know when to respond to a call?
When you dial 911, your call is routed to your local law enforcement agency. Law enforcement disaptchers will take your information and will then "page out" for the fire department to respond. All firefighters carry either pagers or radios. So when a call is "paged out" they will drop what they are doing and respond to the fire station.

11. Why don't you do vehicle lock-outs?
Performing vehicle lock-outs is a Locksmith trade. Today's vehicles are easily acceptable to damage with clips and fasteners being made of plastic. In addition to todays vehicles with side impact airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners, wires may be disconnected resulting in a failure of a safety component to be activated during a collision. The liability is just to large to do vehicle lock-outs. During emergencies, say for a child locked inside a car during the summer months, we will respond and make entry into the vehicle by any means necessary to protect life. This may involve utilizing lock-out tools or breaking a window. If you are locked out of your vehicle, the best thing to do is call a qualified Locksmith who is trained and insured in the task.


Copyright (c) 2005 Navajo Nation Department of Fire & Rescue Services