Local Shortage of Volunteer Firefighters

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY (KAIT) Almost three quarters of Americas firefighters are volunteers.

Nationwide and here in Region 8 the number of men and women willing to train to become a firefighter is falling.

In fact one town in our area has equipment and trucks but no firefighters at all.

This scene of volunteer firefighters rushing to an emergency is repeated hundreds of times across America every day.

But across America the number of volunteer firefighters is dropping.

Chief Morris Watkins, Cash VFD "Nobody wants to take the time I think anymore. There ain't no glory in it. You really got to love it to do it. Try and help the community."

Daniel Gammill, "We don't have that many people on our fire department but what little we have we have each others back."

The Cash Fire Department has 13 active members, 3 trucks and lots of dedication.

Gerald Goza, "We go and we fight house fires all night long but yet we're up at six o clock in the morning and going to our regular jobs. "

And there in lies one of the problems. Many firefighters do not work in their home towns they may be employed in an occupation that dropping what they are doing and responding to a fire may not be possible.

Another issue that discourages possible recruits is the training involved. Volunteers must go through the same training as paid firefighters, although the training is paid for it must be done on a firefighters own time.

Watkins, "First off you have to go through protective equipment training and all that before you can even actively come on as a firefighter."

What if you are small town and you have fire trucks you have equipment but you have no firefighters. What are you supposed to do?

The town of Egypt is such a town, with trucks and turnouts .

Mayor Don Scruggs "Out here everybody is either working during the day time or farming or anything or they are just plain to old to be a firefighter. And we just ran out of people. "

With no firefighters the town has coverage from Cash and Bono.

Scruggs, "It takes you know from Cash or Bono either one it takes them seven or eight minutes usually from Cash. A little bit longer from Bono."

Mayor scruggs a former Jonesboro fire fighter himself wants his community to know.

"We've still got fire protection we don't have anybody at the station here in Egypt."

The need for volunteer firefighters and first responders grows each year. If you live in a community that has a volunteer fire department, think about this.

If you have an emergency. Who's coming to help you?

If you would like to get involved with your volunteer fire department there are 12 just in Craighead county alone and many more across the region.