BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – It’s a message echoed across Baldwin County.
“Every department is really busy right now and we really have a need for more volunteers,” said Brent Pugh with Stapleton VFD.
Baldwin Co. 911 called it a critical need. Brent Pugh with Stapleton VFD said they currently have 12 active volunteer firefighters, down more than half of what they should have this time of year.
“Anywhere between 20-25 is ideal,” he explained.
30 departments in Baldwin County rely solely on volunteers and right now it’s a struggle to find help. Pugh said the staffing situation is hitting Stapleton VFD hard, especially during peak hours of the day.
“One of the biggest needs right now in our department, and I’m sure other departments across the area, is daytime help. During working hours and normal business hours most of the firefighters that we have are working age so everybody’s at work. When a call goes out there’s not really many people that can respond. We rely a lot on mutual aid from other departments,” he added.
Each week the department holds a training class for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter. It’s not a full-time job, but it’s a commitment to help the community whenever there’s a need.
“We have a lot of calls that go out. Everything from assistance to a neighbor that may have fallen and they can’t get up. We help them up. We respond to medical calls. We’re the first on scene, usually,” Pugh said.
Right now, a lot of the volunteer departments are relying on help from neighboring areas, but Pugh said that doesn’t always solve the problem since they’re also down firefighters. He urges anyone who might be thinking of joining to reach out.