@jacob: To apply in my town, you need to 1) live in the town 2) go to three monthly meetings in a row, and then 3) apply to join. You then essentially become like a justice of the peace, but for the fire department.
I see two major benefits. The first is opportunity for free training, like CPR and first aid, EMT, and time with the fire department (one scheduled fire engine ride per year!). The other benefit is meeting ham radio people. From what I've met, these people often make the stereotypical engineer/scientist look main-stream cool. They seem to be the zenith in the hierarchy of nerds, so I think good people to learn from or with.
Another way to get off the ERE sin list with your radio is to volunteer at trail running races. They often need ham radio volunteers. Contact a Race Director (RD), if interested. This is why I originally pursued a license.