An investment in Oregon's Fire Service.
Welcome to the Oregon Fire Apprenticeship web site. Here you will learn about our apprenticeship and how Oregon’s Fire Service is building our future while preserving our past.
Oregon’s fire service is at a crossroads. Increasing Urban Wildland Interface incidents, over 1,000,000 acres burned in the 2020 fire season alone, COVID 19, an aging population with specific needs and 120 people a day moving into the state, we are in the midst a staffing crisis.
Oregon is asking more and more from their fire fighters both career and volunteer. Those requirements are making serious impacts on Oregon’s volunteer fire fighters, both current and prospective volunteers. The career fire service is experiencing different but equally troublesome challenges. One of those challenges is reflecting the communities we serve as a workforce. We are not diverse as a profession. Introduction of the career fire service to women, veterans and black, indigenous and people of color can and should be improved.
Currently in Oregon our community college and volunteer programs and departments have robust educational programs and service provision in their respective areas, but both have challenges in preparing for a career as a fire fighter.
We believe one practical solution to a significant number of those problems is apprenticeship. The program opens recruitment and retention to reflect the communities we serve and how we meet the community fire service needs through increased staffing. Our proposal is a partnership between local fire service employers, BOLI and the International Association of Fire Fighters. (IAFF)
The Oregon fire service engages its citizens on the service level issue in as many ways we have fire service delivery models. The challenge it continually comes back to is money, time and people. Whether volunteer or career, getting started in the occupation as a fire fighter takes time and in Oregon’s case usually a commitment as a volunteer or student fire fighter for little or no wages. HB 2373 certifies the Oregon Fire Service Apprentice Program with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) as a profession with rigorous practical skill proficiency, industry specific outside education and actual on the job training (OJT) required in the fire service. Oregon’s fire service is using grants like the SAFER Grant process to improve staffing but unfortunately that alone is not enough. This program is an important addition to our fire service challenge moving forward.