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Your First Year

Your first year at Cockeysville VFC is designed to get you acclimated to life in the fire service, learn company policies and procedures, and see our role in the community. It is also an opportunity to make new friends and learn new skills.


You’ll begin your first year by meeting with the Chief or another officer to complete your new hire paperwork and get set up on station systems. After that, your first year begins. The information on this page is designed to give you an idea of what to expect. 

Probationary Member Requirements

Below are the requirements for all probationary members. If you have any questions before joining, please contact our membership committee. Once voted in, speak to a company officer with any questions or concerns.

20 Hours In-Station Per Month

Probationary members are required to complete 20 hours in-station per month. Time spent in your FF1 or EMT class does not count towards this requirement.


Spending time at the station allows you to get to know us, learn our procedures, and practice the skills you learn in your classes.


Once cleared as an observer, spending time at the station allows you to ride the equipment and gain experience.

Completion of FF1 or EMT

Completion of Firefighter 1 or EMT is required within your first year.


MFRI runs on the academic year schedule with classes offered in the fall, spring, and summer crash courses. Classes are usually offered in four formats:


  • 2 nights per week (7pm-10pm)
  • 2 nights per week (7pm-10pm) plus 1 weekend day (8am/9am-3pm/4pm)
  • 1 weekend day (8am/9am-3pm/4pm)
  • 2 weekend days (8am/9am-3pm/4pm)


Class scheduled can be viewed at https://www.MFRI.org under the Student tab and then Course Schedules tab.  Baltimore County is in the “North East” region; however, some members may find classes in “North Central” convenient as well.


If class schedules prevent you from completing the class within the first year, the officers will consider your progress and can extend your probation to allow you time to complete the class.

A Message From Former Chief Elwood Bannister

Classes Required For All Members

All riding members are required to complete the following 4 classes and recertify as required by the class.


All members must complete a CPR Professional Level program. Classes are offered for free through the station and the Baltimore County Volunteer Fireman’s Association. If you already have Professional Level CPR certification, just bring your card to your orientation.


CPR must be recertified every 2 years. recertification classes are provided by the company.

EMS Compliance

EMS Compliance combines bloodborne pathogens, HIPAA awareness, and EMS billing into one training. All members are required to take this training, even if you are only doing firefighting.


This training is unique to Baltimore County and must be taken even if you have bloodborne pathogens from another agency and/or employer.

Hazmat Core Comptency

Hazmat Core Competency is an 8-hour class offered monthly that offers a basic understanding of hazardous materials and how to identify them. After your initial certification class, you will be required to complete a yearly refresher online.

ICS 100, 200, 700

ICS, which stands for Incident Command System, provides a standardized framework for incident management. All members are required to complete ICS 100, 200 and 700 before becoming observers.


ICS classes can be completed online. Be sure to print out the certificates of completion.


ICS classes do not require recertification, but maintaining a working knowledge of ICS is important.

Important Information to Know

As a new member, you will be hit with a lot of information in a short amount of time. Here is some important information to know and tips for success.

Obtaining Medical Clearance

All members are required to get a physical from a medical doctor (must be an M.D.) after being voted into the company. After your initial physical, you must continue to get yearly physicals to maintain medical clearance to serve.


The process begins once you meet with the Chief, you will receive some paperwork to complete. This will then be sent to the county and you will be cleared to get your physical either at the county medical office (no cost) or at your own personal doctor (consult with your insurance to determine costs and frequency covered) if permitted. You will then get a form to take to the doctor.


While CVFC strongly encourages prospective members to discuss with their doctor before joining our company, the medical clearance process must be completed after you are voted into the company.


In the unlikely event a member is denied medical clearance, a member may continue with the company in a support member role

Learn the Company Rules and By-Laws

As with membership in any organization, it’s important to know the rules of the organization. The CVFC constitution, bylaws, and rules are located on Fire Rescue Reports, our internal website (www.cvfcfrr.com), or in the radio room at the station. You will receive a login during your initial meeting with the Chief after being voted in. 

Learn About LOSAP

LOSAP (Length of Service Awards Program) is a program that rewards Maryland volunteer firefighters for the time spent in the station. Everything you do in the fire service earns you points, from riding calls to attending meetings to serving on committees; even time in the station counts. You need to earn 50 points per year to be considered “Active.” It’s very easy to earn 50 points throughout the year.


Once you have earned 50 points for 3 years and 36 months, you are eligible to receive a $5,000 dollar Maryland income subtraction credit.


Once you have 25 years or credited LOSAP service, you are eligible to receive a monthly pension check from LOSAP.


On your first day at the station, you will receive your LOSAP number. It’s important to remember this number as it’s your identification number for your time in the FD.


You can learn more about the LOSAP program here: https://www.msfa.org/committees/incentives/

Get Inolved

Membership in a volunteer fire company is more than just responding to calls. There are a number of administrative tasks to be done, fundraising that needs to be done, and public relations such as firehouse tours and birthday parties.


Volunteer to serve on a committee. You’ll be helping out and it’s a great way to feel part of the company. Not only that, you will be earning points towards your LOSAP requirement.

Attend Meetings and Details

Company meetings are held every other Monday at 7:30 pm. Although not required, new members are encouraged to attend at least 1 meeting a month. Meetings are a great way to learn about what’s going on in the company and to meet other members.


Throughout the year, CVFC participates in a number of details. Details can be anything from our Fire Prevention Week education trips to local daycares to providing EMS services for events in Cockeysville to taking Santa and the Easter Bunny through Cockeysville communities on our sleigh. Details also provide a great way to meet and interact with other members.

Ride as an Observer

Once you complete your 4 required classes and demonstrate knowledge of the location of equipment on the unit, you can begin riding calls as an observer.


Observers are able to ride along and observe, but generally not participate in calls. Riding as an observer before you begin class can give you valuable information to make class easier, and riding during class allows you to see classroom concepts in action.


After a call, ASK QUESTIONS. It’s a great way to learn and get to know your fellow members.

Train! Train! Train!

As you learn skills in class, it’s important to practice them in the station. Training is an essential part of the fire service, as people are depending on us to be able to deliver in an emergency. Members are always happy to help new members learn, and there is a wealth of knowledge available. Attend training classes and be proactive; ask to train!

Ask Questions

Our officers and members pride themselves on reaching out to new members to help them learn, but you can also reach out to them. Ask questions! Ask members to go over equipment, rules, policies, anything, with you.

What Happens Next?

  1. Complete 12 months probation.
  2. Complete FF1 or EMT*
  3. Company officers recommend full membership.
  4. Board of Directors accepts recommendation.
  5. Congratulations! You are a full member.

* We understand that sometimes due to class schedules and personal commitments, it may not be possible to complete FF1 or EMT within the 1st year. In those cases, the officers and board can extend the probationary period to give time to complete the course.

Next Steps