VIDEO: Local Fire Stations in Need of VolunteersPosted:
MILLVILLE - With the winter season approaching, local fire stations are heading into their busy season. And stations all across South Jersey are finding it difficult to recruit volunteers to help.
“I think the issue with volunteering across the country is just the time that it takes," said Larry Fawcett, Volunteer Battalion Chief. "It takes two incomes to run a household. I think that’s part of it, and just the time that it takes to be a volunteer and the time that it takes to run a household and work full-time jobs, it’s very difficult.” Fawcett added, “It’s rough sometimes getting that 2, 3 o clock in the morning start, then go home, get cleaned up, and go to work for eight hours."
“Some of the calls come out when I’m at work, you know, I can’t exactly leave my job to come here, even though this is what I love to do, but that’s definitely a factor for some people, they just can’t put in the time here because they have to make a living,” said Kevin Hall, Volunteer Firefighter.
Volunteers are required to attend training every year and participate in a certain percentage of the calls, based on the station. Becoming a volunteer doesn’t just happen overnight. An application has to be filled out, a background check and a physical needs to be performed, and then the volunteer is required to go through six months of fire school before starting to fight fires.
“Serving my community is definitely my favorite part," said Fawcett. "I always wanted to serve my community, I thought about being a police officer, but being a volunteer firefighter, I’m able to serve and help people in our community when they’re really in desperate need.”
A need for fire department volunteers is an issue not only in South Jersey, but across the entire country. Although Millville volunteers commit about 20 to 25 hours every week to volunteer, they said that they love to help their community.
“Just to be there and try and save everything that we can for them, and comfort them, you know, I think is the most rewarding part of it for me,” said Fawcett.
“For me it doesn’t matter if I get paid to do it, or if I do, I just love volunteering, I love being a fireman, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, so getting paid to do it, eh, it’s alright,” said Kevin Hall.