MULGA, Ala. (WIAT) — The Mulga Fire Department needs your help. They’re hosting a recruitment day this afternoon, looking for more volunteers.
Fire fighters CBS 42 spoke with said there’s a dire need for more volunteers nationwide.
The fire chief at Mulga’s fire department, James Price, tells me there is a huge volunteer shortage and they are feeling its effects right here in their community.
He said the shortage is only getting worse, so they’re looking to reverse the trend.
Without proper staffing, he said calls go unanswered and some fires may go unattended until neighboring departments step in to help.
That’s why Fire Chief Price said mutual aid agreements are in place. Surrounding departments step in, ensuring community members receive help, but wait times are longer.
“It’s a definite impact for our community from that standpoint because they’re having to wait just a little bit longer because we’re waiting for outside to respond to the calls that are in our town,” Fire Chief Price said.
Mulga’s fire department isn’t the only one struggling. Brierfield Fire and Rescue Chief Spruce McRee told CBS 42 communities all over feel the impact of this shortage.
Fire Chief McRee said there are not as many volunteers because priorities have shifted over the years.
“Folks now live multiple lives,” said Fire Chief McRee. “Both husband and wife work. They have children. They’re wrapped up in activities, and the demands on becoming a firefighter are pretty extensive. If you’re a volunteer firefighter, you have to go through 160 hours’ worth of firefighter one training in addition to your weekly drills at the fire station.”
This is why Fire Chief McRee said recruitment and retainment are the key to possibly reversing the trend.
He said the demands of becoming a volunteer fire fighter are great, but the reward is strong.
Mulga Fire Chief James Price says our communities simply couldn’t function properly without the help of volunteers.
“Think about it, I mean, you dial 911, if it’s not for the volunteers, who’s going to come and respond when you have an emergency,” said Fire Chief Price. “So, if not anything, just to help your neighbors out.”
“Saving a life, saving property, and to be honest with you it’s just a thrill about riding in a big red fire truck with sirens and horns blasting,” said Fire Chief McRee
If you’re in the Mulga area and interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer fire fighter you can attend today’s recruitment at the fire department from 4-6 pm.
Mulga isn’t the only community in need. Both fire chiefs encourage you to reach out to your local volunteer fire department to help eliminate the shortage.
To contact the Mulga Fire Department you can email or call Fire Chief James Price:
Phone: (205) 516-1951
You can Brierfield Fire & Rescue through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brierfieldfire