How to Join?
I have a volunteer fire station within a mile from my house and I was giving serious thought into joining. It's a large volunteer dept in fact I read online it is the largest volunteer fire dept in the nation. I have a few questions for you guys. Their website says to stop by and ask about becoming a member. Should I call before and try to set up a time to meet with the chief or just stop by and ask anyone? When I drive by the people seem pretty busy and I would hate to drop by at the wrong time. Also, I know everyone is different, but how much time on average do you think you should be able to give the department? I am working full time and taking a class on Saturday at a local college. Realistically do you think I would have enough time to be considered a good member and complete all the training? Thanks for the help.
Odds are that unless they're involved in a drill, they've probably got time to talk. If they're looking for members, they'll be glad to talk to you.
Ask them all the same questions you posed here.
The time commitment can vary. The biggest hurdle will be your initial training, which could run 100 hours or more. In most places you can do that evenings and maybe a few weekends, stretched out over several months.
After that it depends on what the department (and others) requires. Possibilities include business meetings, periodic training (weekly/monthly), fund-raising (if they do it) and of course responses.
In most cases attendance at all such events isn't mandatory - it'll be some percentage.
So, yes - stop in and pay them a visit. The worst they can say is "not right now - come back later."