The Apprentice Program began in 1999. The goal is to maintain a dedicated group of 24 Apprentice Firefighters at all times. Apprentice Firefighters provide the fourth-man position of the Engine Company at two fire stations. The program is designed to offer an opportunity to gain training and experience for individuals with an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificate and completion of an accredited Fire Academy. Apprentice Firefighters are assigned a 24-hour shift on a day that fits into their schedule. They are a part of the Engine Company under the direct supervision of a Fire Captain, and assist with suppression activities, fire prevention inspections, public education and emergency medical services (EMS) calls. They are expected to treat their shift just like their regular job and are compensated with a nominal stipend. This is a learning experience for the Apprentice Firefighters with the goal of making them successful in securing a full-time position as a Firefighter. Approximately 85% of our Apprentice Firefighters are successful in testing for a full-time position, many within the first year of being accepted into the Apprentice Program. Apprentice Firefighters are strongly considered for Entry Level positions within the Fire Department when available. The day to day management of the program is the responsibility of Engineer/Paramedic Sam Dominick (firstname.lastname@example.org). The program is administered by Battalion Chief Mark Horine.
Prospective Apprentices can begin by filing out the interactive interest card and emailing it to Eng/PM Sam Dominick at email@example.com, or by picking up an interest card from the Department Secretary during normal business hours. If selected, they will complete an employment application and submit a resume. Selected applicants are then scheduled to appear before an oral interview panel. Applicants must also take a standard City physical and Live Scan. Successful applicants are assigned as an Alternate until an opening is available in the schedule.
Apprentice Firefighters are included in shift training and station duties alongside the full-time firefighters. Apprentice Firefighters are occasionally asked to pick up supplies and/or equipment at area hospitals or trauma centers. This allows the Apprentice Firefighter to be given increasingly more responsibility while driving Department equipment and representing the Department to the public. Apprentice Firefighters are required to know their equipment and are trained in proper care and maintenance of most Fire Department tools. During calls for service, the Apprentice Firefighter is a trusted member of the team, providing crucial assistance as needed and directed.
Apprentice Firefighters are asked to participate in Department events as their schedule permits. This allows the Apprentice Firefighter opportunities to get involved in Department-sponsored charity events and service projects. Interested Apprentice Firefighters are encouraged to attend a certified Paramedic School. As openings become available in participating Paramedic Schools, qualified Apprentice Firefighters are selected to attend and are sponsored by the Fire Department. In preparation for successful completion of Paramedic School, the Apprentice Firefighter is assigned a full-time Paramedic as a mentor. If the need arises, the City will provide an interest free loan to the Apprentice Firefighter for the costs of Paramedic School fees. The promissory note is paid back after Paramedic School is completed. The Apprentice Firefighters are given ample time in the evenings to study for upcoming tests for Departments that have entry level openings. When the Apprentice Firefighter gets to the interview stage of the testing process, mock oral interviews are conducted as an additional method of preparation. Apprentices can earn their California State Firefighter I certificate after one year of service and completion of a task book of skills.