Bunker Program

The Cortland Fire Department Bunker Program is unique in this region. Unlike traditional bunker programs, candidates are not required to live in the fire station full time. Bunkers are interior firefighters who are assigned to shifts in the fire station and respond on all alarms. This is a grant funded program for recruiting previously trained interior volunteer firefighters. It is the only program in Cortland County that places Bunkers on duty with career firefighters and at training and on the fireground with volunteers.  Many of our Bunkers are folks interested in careers in emergency services although anyone meeting minimum qualifications can interview for the Bunker Program. Unlike our regular volunteer membership the Bunker program is limited in candidate positions.

Current participants have said that the Bunker program offers great flexibility in meeting both personal and professional goals. Some of the Bunker participants volunteer with their home fire departments, some are college students and still others are gaining insight to determine if they will pursue a career in emergency services.

Bunker participants must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • meet minimum entry level requirements for training standards for interior firefighting
  • meet scheduling requirements of approximately 30 hours per week
  • pass a physical fitness evaluation
  • meet ongoing training milestones.

In exchange, the participants receive a trimester stipend to use toward housing or other expenses.

The minimum entry-level training standards follow the requirements to complete the Cortland County Boot Camp for interior firefighters. Since all candidates have emergency service experience some Bunkers come to the program with EMT certification. Those without EMT must obtain certification within 24 months to remain in the program.

In addition to emergency response duties Bunkers work with the career staff in station and equipment maintenance, and train regularly with the volunteer staff to create a multi-tiered well rounded firefighting force. In general, participants are assigned to a career shift rotation and are required to complete two fourteen-hour night shifts during each eight-day rotation. There are daytime options available, but fewer participants tend to choose this schedule.

We invite you to find out more by contacting us at 607-756-5612 or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Download a brochure.


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