(I copied and pasted this from the firefigher explorer forum, figured this was more appropriate)

I'm a resident of California and my local fire department does accept volunteers, but for the first six months you have to do only logistical support. It says "Their duties include providing shelter, medical monitoring, air refills, food and hydration to suppression personnel. Logistical Support Unit members must attend regular (biweekly) training sessions." After the six months you can go into the volunteer firefighter program. How common is it for a fire department to do this, and why? Should I look for another department that doesn't do this stuff of mopping and cleaning for six months?

Also, someone told me that some departments pay their volunteer firefighters a little bit. Is it more common for a department to do this or to decline compensation?

My [tentative] plan is to volunteer firefight while going to a community to get my Associate's Degree in Fire Science. The school also has a "Wildland firefighter academy" and "Fire technology academy". I intend to definitely do the wildland one, but may do the Firefighter 1 academy somewhere else if my school doesn't have EMS certs along with it, or if they're not very respectable. My main question of this post is how does this plan sound? Are there any ways that it could be better, enhanced, etc?

Another part of my tentative plan is that someday I really want to move out of this state, so how applicable is my training in California to other states (thinking the midwest)?

Thankyou gentlemen,