‘What Fuels Your Fire?’ campaign kicks off at local volunteer fire departments
HARDIN COUNTY, Tenn. — Local fire departments are asking residents to help them help you by becoming a volunteer firefighter.
“Generally when you get called, somebody is having the worst day of their life, and it’s up to you, and your training, and your knowledge, and your ability, to get out there and make that day better,” said Assistant Chief Rick Guardino of the Hardin County Fire Department.
The Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association says 80 percent of all fire personnel in Tennessee are volunteers, and representatives say you can never have enough.
“Generally with them being volunteers, some work days, some work nights,” Guardino said. “You know, when the tones go out, you never know who you’re going to get to respond, sometimes if anyone.”
Three West Tennessee fire service groups were awarded grant money to assist them in recruiting new members. The Lexington Fire Department says not only do they plan on making appearances at local events, but they are also starting a junior firefighters program.
“… to try to get more of our younger people to get more familiar with our fire department, hoping that they would come aboard after they’re 18 years of age to be a volunteer,” said Lt. Patrick Lindsey of the Lexington Fire Department.
Guardino says the Hardin County Fire Department is using their grant to determine not only what will motivate volunteers to join their team but to also make them stay a member.
“Today people are busy, you know, they got cell phones, and iPads, and jobs, and children, and there’s not really that sense of community that there used to be,” Guardino said.
Assistant Chief Jon Maness of the Lexington Fire Department says as long as you’re 18, they have a job for anyone who is willing and able to respond to emergencies when needed.
“There’s multiple jobs. It’s not just about fighting fire,” Maness said. “There’s lots of other things to be done.”
Guardino also says, as a volunteer, you will acquire more than just invaluable knowledge and skills, but friendships both on and off the job.
The Hardin County and Lexington fire departments say if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer fire fighter to call or visit their station any time.