Benefits of Volunteering

            Why Volunteer?  Because it helps everyone, including you!  Yes, volunteering for the fire service, a tradition set in place by Benjamin Franklin, is very rewarding.  Not only for the volunteer but also the citizens those volunteers serve.  Certainly the direct benefit of offering help during times of emergency or disaster is obvious.  But there are other benefits.

            It is estimated that 67% of all firefighters in GA are volunteers.  That comes to approximately 20,000 volunteers.  Using an average salary & benefits package from across the State, those 20,000 volunteers are saving the tax-paying citizens of Georgia nearly $1,000,000,000.00:  that’s 1 Billion Dollars.  What an incentive to volunteer!  Lower taxes for all.

            And there are some direct benefits for the Volunteer:

  1. All Southside volunteers are entitled to free fire protection on properties that they own after they have completed their 40 hours of drill attendance, and have been voted in by their division.  They must maintain good standing and meet the training requirements of their Division.
  2. All volunteers are covered by Workman’s Compensation for accidents and injuries directly related to their job as a firefighter. (This benefit does not include weekly benefits - only medical expenses)
  3. All volunteers are covered by an accident policy which pays medical expenses on top of Workman’s Compensation, plus a weekly benefit of $100.00 a week for a total of 260 weeks. If killed in the line of duty, this policy provides $25,000 life insurance, and other benefits.
  4. All volunteers are covered by the State and Federal Indemnification if killed in the line of duty.  ($75,000 - $250,000)
  5. On their anniversary date with Southside, a volunteer automatically becomes a member of the Georgia State Firefighters Association. Each member receives a quarterly magazine with information about the fire service in the State of Georgia, and becomes eligible to attend the annual state conference.
  6. A volunteer may also qualify to join the Georgia Firemen’s Pension Fund.  Volunteers are eligible to join the pension fund at their own expense as do the fulltime career personnel.


            From time to time benefits do change, some based on State regulations, some on Federal requirements, and others on local concerns.

            So you want to be a firefighter ? . . . the best way is to Volunteer and see if firefighting is your calling.  Come join us in this grand people-helping, tax-saving, great American tradition:  Volunteer Now !


How to Become a Volunteer

Southside Fire/EMS & Security has 5 divisions with each being an independently state chartered volunteer fire department. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you must live in the division area listed below. Exceptions may be made for certain circumstances at the discretion of the chief.

Southside Division: includes Vernonburg, county side of East Montgomery crossroads, east of the Casey Canal including Halcyon Bluff, Crest Hill, Mayfair II, Heatherwood Subdivisions, and areas east of Skidaway Road, including Norwood Ave, Nottingham Woods, Majestic Oaks, Laroche Ave up to the city limits.

Island’s Division: includes Wilmington Island, Whitmarsh Island, Talahi Island, Oatland Island, and the subdivisions of President Street immediately west of Island’s Expressway Bridge up to our Station 14 on President Street.

Skidaway Island Division: includes all of Skidaway Island.

Montgomery Division: includes Ferguson Ave, Burnside Island, Diamond Causeway up to Skidaway Narrows River, and the southern part of Whitfield Avenue up to Truman Parkway.

Seventh District Division: all unincorporated areas of Chatham County, west of Forest River to the Bryan county line, Ogeechee Road (Hwy 17s) up to Savannah city limits, includes Southbridge, Berwick, Quacco Road up to Pooler city limits and Little Neck Road.

Volunteer drills & meetings are held as follows:

Southside division:
Station # 1 – 10703 White Bluff Rd
Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm

Island’s Division:
Station # 4 - 155 Wilmington Island Rd
Monday nights at 7:00 pm

Skidaway Island Division:
Station # 5 – 553 McWhorter Dr
Monday nights at 7:00 pm

Montgomery Division:
Station # 6 – 214 Shipyard Rd
Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm

Seventh District Division:
Station # 3 – 2009 Grove Point Road
Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm

*please note time and dates may vary.

Is Training Included?

The simple answer is “YES”. As a new volunteer, you will be expected to attend a minimum of 40 hours of drill time before you will be voted on for membership. After that, any State requirements for your level of firefighting response must be met and maintained annually to continue with your firefighting career as a volunteer with Southside. Not only do we offer weekly volunteer drills, but also we offer State recognized classes, Georgia Fire Academy classes, FEMA-GEMA-CEMA classes, and live-fire training burns on a regular basis. All full time career personnel may attend these courses as well.

For those seeking full-time employment with Southside, we prefer NPQFF 1 & 2, NREMT-I, and GA Security Officer Certification as well as experience in volunteerism. We do offer all these courses during the calendar year for free to our volunteers (with 1yr & good standing) and to our full-time personnel as needed.

Our full-time firefighters are the highest trained in the region with a minimum of three (3) State or Nationally recognized certifications: NPQFF1, EMT, & GA Security Officer. Our volunteers may choose to be at any of those levels as well and many do. As a minimum, a volunteer must complete Module 1: Basic Firefighting with live fire burn to meet State qualifications as qualified interior structural firefighter. Volunteers may also choose to continue and become NPQFF 1 & 2 certified and apply for State Certification as a firefighter. All full-time personnel must be State Certified within their first year of employment.