Central Texas volunteer fire departments need more volunteers as wildfires continue
McLENNAN COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) - Local volunteer fire departments are constantly looking for volunteers to answer the call to serve. But right now they need more volunteers than ever as wildfires pop up around our area.
”Even if we have four or five or six firefighters on scene and that’s how many we need, they’re most likely not going to be able to operate fully and they’ll have to take a break,” Jeff Wilhelm, Beverly Hills Volunteer Fire Chief said. “We need someone to go in and replace them.”
Beverly Hills Volunteer Fire Department has 15 firefighters and 20 is considered fully staffed for them. Meanwhile Downsville Volunteer Fire Department currently has 12 firefighters and 15 is considered fully staffed for them.
”I’m always wanting more, the more we can get the better off we are,” James Crist, Downsville Volunteer Fire Chief, said.
Both departments recruit year-round but say it can be a challenge trying to recruit because volunteers don’t get paid and typically have to have another full-time job.
”We all have paid jobs and most of the jobs that are out there are 8 to 5 Monday through Friday,” chief Wilhelm said.
Some volunteers at Downsville Fire Department will stay on as little as one to two months. The Beverly Hills fire chief said that’s why he focuses on recruiting younger adults because in his experience they typically stay on longer.
”Younger adults we can usually get four to six years out of them,” Chief Wilhelm said.
Anyone looking to serve their community should make sure they have enough time for the position’s responsibilities.
”A lot of people when they pick up an application they realize that they’re going to have issues coming up for trainings,” Lynn Dahl, public information officer for the Clifton Volunteer Fire Department, said. “You have to have time to get training on small fires, if not it’s not safe for you to just go out on fires.”
To apply for a position with the Clifton Volunteer Fire Department, pick up a paper application at 203 North Avenue E.
To inquire about a position with Downsville Volunteer Fire Department contact the department on Facebook.
For more information about a position with The Beverly Hills Volunteer Fire Department contact the department on Facebook.
The China Spring Volunteer Fire Department is also accepting applications and anyone interested should message them on their Facebook page.
The Axtell/Leroy Volunteer Fire Department also needs volunteers and interested applicants can reach out to their Facebook page or fire chief Dylan Cates at 254-313-2296.
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