The Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Inc. (the Corporation) was founded in 1950 with its primary mission to provide educational opportunities to members of the community about past, present and the future of firefighting through the Benicia Fire Museum. That mission is still the primary focus of the Corporation.
The Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides the general management of the Corporation and the Benicia Fire Museum, and provides volunteer firefighters and support personnel to the City of Benicia Fire Department. The Benicia Volunteer Firemen, Inc., derived from the Benicia Volunteer Fire Department, is the oldest firefighting organization in the State of California still organized, established in 1847 by the citizens of Benicia. The Corporation is NOT a department within the City of Benicia or within the Benicia Fire Department. The Corporation is the owner and operator of the Benicia Fire Museum.
The Corporation has three membership divisions consisting of the Solano, Phoenix and West End Hose Companies. Solano members provide logistical support and rehabilitation services to fire department operations when called to the scene of an emergency operation. Phoenix members provide operational support, fighting fire, emergency medical services, performing rescue and other emergency mitigation functions when responding to emergencies. In addition to monthly general meetings, both of these groups must attend additional training throughout the year to remain qualified for the positions they hold. West End Hose Company members are former Solano or Phoenix personnel who have completed at least five years of service and no longer wish to remain an active member, but want to remain a part of the Corporation. All prospective members must go through a background check including a LiveScan fingerprint check through the California Department of Justice, and they become an unpaid VOLUNTEER employee of the City of Benicia. Corporation members receive no financial compensation for their services to the City of Benicia.
In addition to emergency response activities and training, active members must also go through training to become qualified museum docents. Solano and Phoenix members must perform at least eight hours of docent duties annually at the Benicia Fire Museum to maintain good standing. Docents assist with organized tours and provide answers to museum visitors. All members assist in maintaining, cleaning and upkeep of the museum and its artifacts. All docents must participate in, and periodically present, continuing training regarding the history, artifacts, equipment and apparatus used by the Benicia Fire Department and the fire service in general.
New members must successfully complete a (minimum) six month probationary period consisting of meeting attendance, required training, docent duties and public functions. Failure to successfully complete probation will result in termination from the Corporation. All members must adhere to the requirements of meeting attendance, training, emergency response and docent duties, and must conform to the City of Benicia Fire Department Standard Operating Procedures, as outlined for volunteer employees.