Student Firefighter waving from Fire Engine

Student Firefighter Program

The UC Davis Student Firefighter Program trains students to augment career firefighting personnel working in an all-risk environment.

Applications are currently closed. Our next recruitment period for Student Firefighter will begin in the Fall of 2025.

We provide our student employees hands-on training and professional experience in all aspects of fire and emergency services.

This is done in alignment with the UCDFD striking a careful balance between supporting student firefighters in their pursuit of academic success and the organization delivering world-class service to our community. The program requires a commitment from the students not normally associated with college life, but provides them with structure and work experience.

The experience and values gained as a Student Resident Firefighter helps foster future career firefighters, as a great many of our students have moved on into such emergency service careers. The UC Davis Fire Department is extremely proud of the Student Resident Firefighters and the program in general, which is one of only three such programs on college campuses in the United States.

Student Firefighter Selection and Commitments

The UC Davis Fire Department selects 15 Student Firefighters every two years, from a pool of candidates who have completed an aptitude test, an intensive interview process, and a firefighting academy.

Once selected, the Student Resident Firefighters become working members of the UC Davis Fire Department.

In exchange for free housing at UC Davis Fire Station 34, Student Firefighters will:

  • Work ONE, 24-hour shift monthly
  • Work FOUR, 14-hour shifts monthly
  • Attend TWO training sessions monthly
  • Additional compensation is provided when students respond to emergency calls while not on duty.

Background on Student Firefighter Program

The University of California (UC), Davis Fire Department (UCDFD) is established in the creation of the University Farm in 1917. Prior to becoming one of ten UC campuses, UC Davis served as the “farm school” for UC Berkley and would later become the flag-ship agriculture school for the UC system. Fire plagued critical infrastructure of the farm school in those early years prompting the formation of a fire brigade comprised of students, faculty, and staff to protect the University’s investments.

The structure of the all volunteer brigade at UC Davis remained largely unchanged until UCDFD introduced the Student Firefighter (SFF) Program in 1949. The program formalized the role of students functioning as emergency responders and initiated what would be a transition to the predominantly career organization that UCDFD is today.

In 1955, UC Davis began hiring career firefighters to work alongside the student firefighters. By 1974 the risk complexity of problems posed by the sprawling campus reached a magnitude that required a higher level of training and response demands that shifted the student’s primary role to one designed to augment the response capabilities of career staff. The program perpetually evolves as the needs of the campus and the fire department continue to change.

The SFF Program has changed considerably over the decades, but the mission of the program remains the same: providing service-oriented UC Davis students the education, training, and mentorship needed to function as part of a fire and emergency services organization while pursuing their academic goals.