Free war, old age volunteers struggle to attract the next generation.
If you fire a fire in any of the big cities in the United States, it’s likely that the paid firefighters waiting at the nearby station will react quickly. But seven of the ten American firefighters were actually volunteers. They cover a wide area of the country, forming an aging network that is increasingly understaffed and overworked.
On a hot day in the western state of Kansas, two men rushed out of work for free.
“If someone doesn’t do it here, it can get out of control quickly,” said Jason Lonnberg of Jetmore volunteer fire department.
In most rural communities, volunteers do not fire, and many of these departments are struggling to keep up.
It is not uncommon to find six, seventy – year – old rural firefighters. According to the national volunteer fire commission, about a third of small town volunteer firefighters now exceed 50. That’s twice as many as in the 1980s.
Volunteer firefighters are aging, and they are answering more calls.
In Cedar Vale, Kansas, for example, a fire barn is full of old fire engines, but finding people to operate them is a challenge. Like many remote rural towns, the cedar valley is falling sharply, and the volunteer, Dwight Call, says it undermines recruitment.
“There’s no work here,” CAL said, wearing a dirty work shirt and a huge white beard.
“So if you live here and you’re working, you might be driving somewhere to work,” he says. “Or, if you work in two places in the city, you may not take off for a fire.”
Fifty years ago, when there were many small businesses in the cedar river valley, the volunteer fire department was fully staffed, the telephone said. People in many parts of the country are struggling to piece together their lives.
Isaac McNown said: “I work day and night, and the hours are ridiculous, because he stops at the sida valley. McNown says he works at a livestock feed factory every week and has two more nights. He devoted the rest of his time to his own pruning.
The shortage of volunteers has pushed the cedar river valley, like many other rural fire departments, increasingly turning to people like Montra Beeler, 62.
“I’m a fireman, I’m driving a truck, putting out fires,” biller said. “I am the mother of the fire barn.”
Ms. Biller, who is barely five feet tall, said it was hard for her to see the hood of these big old fire engines, but she was the first responder here.
“Now, the three of us are mostly me, my son marshal and zeke,” biller said. “We are usually found in the wreckage of the car, the wreckage of the motorcycle, three of the fires.”
Jeff Mortimer, of the volunteer fire department at Mayfield, kan., says the workload is increasing.
Not to mention the medical emergency. Over the past three decades, the number of volunteer fire departments has tripled. It’s like a Chrissy Bartell volunteer EMS service in Kanwich.
The only doctor in town, Mr. Battelle said, left the building a few years ago.
Now, the volunteer ambulance service is Norwich’s only provider of medical services covering nearly 300 square miles.
“There was a sharp increase in the volume of calls, and I couldn’t see any change except for the increase,” Mr Battelle said.
There are no simple solutions. Paid fires and EMS will cost a lot of money. According to a national fire protection association study, volunteer firefighters donate about $140 billion a year in labor. Even so, it is difficult for many departments to provide basic equipment, according to Kimberly Quiros of the national volunteer fire commission.
“Again and again, you hear stories, you know, the use of old equipment, this is not necessarily the most safe, or the old fire truck and old equipment, or cannot afford what they really need resources,” said queiroz.
This can affect most people. Although fire services have been paid for in big cities, volunteers have covered much of the country. So, if you an accident happened in the rural highway, the gove county of interstate 70 in Kansas, said Steve hirsch, you’d better hope within a self-contained happen near the fire department.
“Three out of four people don’t have any rescue equipment, so you can walk 30 miles and there’s no rescue equipment,” heskey said.
Hirsch is the first vice President of the national volunteer fire service, and he works in the volunteer fire department of the Hoxie, kan.
“Some departments are just begging for volunteers, and we don’t have that many problems here. Recruiting is one of the 24/ 7/365 days of the year, and we never stop hiring. ”
Like many volunteer firefighters, hirsch believed in what he had done. Because there are no volunteers or departments like him, he says, the big American blockbusters will burn.