Frequently Asked Questions

Did you ever want to be a firefighter when you were younger?  Are you looking to be part of something bigger than yourself?  Are you looking for an opportunity for meaningful community service?  Are you looking for an opportunity to learn new skills?

We can’t understate the non-material benefits of becoming an Alpha. You’ll meet some of your best friends, create some of your fondest memories, and learn extremely valuable life and leadership skills along the way. You’ll open doors for yourself that you never dreamt of, and enjoy the physical challenge that firefighting poses while having the time of your life.

Who are the Alphas?

The Alpha Fire Company is an all volunteer company of firefighters and fire police dedicated to providing professional fire and rescue services throughout the area. We are a diverse group and our membership is comprised of individuals employed in diverse fields including computer technicians, sales people, mechanics, police officers, landscapers, bankers, and Penn State students, faculty and staff. Simply put we are your neighbors.

Back to top

Basic Membership Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a High School graduate or have a GED or equivalent
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Complete an application and background check
  • Complete a background physical

Back to top

Do I need to live in State College to volunteer as a Firefighter?

The Alphas have a number of membership categories. Our basic membership category requires our volunteers to live in our primary coverage area made up of the Borough of State College along with the townships of College, Ferguson and Patton as well as State College Campus and parts of Benner and Halfmoon Townships. We also have members who are Penn State students who maintain an area address for the academic year as well as a category that allows membership for qualified firefighters who live outside of our primary coverage area. Please note that you not only have to qualify as an Alpha, but also have a connection to the area to be a Type II member.

Back to top

Do I need to be trained and certified to volunteer?

We provide all required training to our resident and student members free of charge. Members from outside of our primary coverage areas and our resident program members need to be qualified to the Firefighter I level.

Back to top

What kind of training is involved?

Our training program provides all the necessary training to safely and effectively function as part of a fire/rescue team. Within the first 18 months of membership, volunteers will complete our in house training course, outside training leading to state certification as Firefighter I, Hazardous Materials Operations, CPR/AED, First Aid, and a number of online courses dealing with organization and structure of the emergency services. Both our in house and external required training is paid for by the fire company and is not a burden to our members.

Back to top

Is the training physically demanding?

Yes. Make no mistake – firefighting is physically demanding and requires a level of physical conditioning that includes wearing heavy protective clothing, carrying loads, and operating in challenging environments. While our profession requires physical fitness, we do not expect our members to be ready to operate in a hazardous environment on their first day and provide a well equipped gym and training advice to our members.

Back to top

Do men and women have equal requirements for entry and training?

Yes. Our training, medical and physical requirements are based upon the services we provide and the environment we operate in and follow both OSHA and National Fire Protection Association standards.

Back to top

Does my prior fire/rescue training and experience count at Alpha?

Yes. We require proof of previous training. All members complete our in house training in order to ensure we are able to operate as a cohesive team when called upon to serve.

Back to top

Are Alphas directly paid or compensated?

No. The Alpha Fire Company is proudly an all volunteer service – other than a small annual stipend we are not paid or compensated for our efforts. The fire company and the Centre Region Council of Governments do provide a number of insurance policies, including workman’s compensation, to ensure our members are protected while performing their volunteer service.

Back to top

What are the benefits of joining the Alphas?

There are many, including free training, learning new skills, leadership development, scholarship opportunities, insurance package, and access to our weight room, computer lab, lounges, and laundry facilities, among others. However, for most, the biggest benefits are knowing you are making a difference in the lives of your neighbors and the sense of camaraderie that comes with being a member of a tight-knit professional organization.

Back to top

Are the Alphas ‘all work and no play’?

Certainly not! We are a tight knit team and while we do have considerable training and service obligations, there are numerous opportunities to get together to enjoy each other’s company. We have an annual formal banquet, fire company picnics, intramural sports, and a number of more informal opportunities to get together throughout the year. We are a family in every sense of the word.

Back to top

What else do the Alphas do?

We are an active fire company and while training and responding to fire and rescue calls comprise the bulk of our efforts, we also participate in a number of outreach and educational events. We routinely engage in events ranging from the Pennsylvania Special Olympics, to fire education and safety programs in our schools, to a number of events held by other community organizations and businesses.

Back to top

Do the Alphas have a resident program?

Yes. If you are a student pursuing a degree at Penn State with experience and fire service certifications then our live-in program may be for you. We have spaces available at all three fire stations and benefits include a private, single room, internet access, laundry, access to kitchen and lounges, including our computer lounge, use of our gym, and easy access to the university.

Back to top

How can I get more information?

Call 814-237-4127 or send an e-mail to

Back to top

How do I join the Alpha Fire Company?

Click here to get a copy of the application for membership. Complete the application and bring it to the main station at 400 W. Beaver Avenue, State College, PA. The best times to drop it off are Monday through Friday (except holidays), 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM and on Monday nights between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM.

Apply to Become a Firefighter

Back to top

Support your community by
donating to Alpha Fire!