Volunteer Fire Departments looking for more volunteers

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DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WKRG) — A massive fire destroyed two homes on Dauphin Island Monday evening.  As the fire blazed between the homes, several groups of volunteer fire fighters jumped into action to put the flames out and worked to contain the devastation.

One volunteer fire fighter told us more about how you don’t have to run into a burning building to join their family.

“I can buy more things,” said Pam Quinley.  Her home was one of the two that burned in the fire.  “I’m just thankful that no one, including the fire men and the workers that was in my yard, no one was hurt.  I’m just thankful.”

Of all the men and women who answered the call to Monday night’s fire on Dauphin Island, just one group, Mobile EMS, was not volunteer.

Now, volunteer fire departments are calling on the community for assistance.

“Every volunteer fire department is going to need people,” said Brad Cox, Dauphin Island Fire Rescue Chief.  “I need people. We’re always willing to have more people.”

Training to be a volunteer firefighter doesn’t require a career in firefighting.  It’s about 160 hours of training a year after your initial training and you don’t have to run into a burning building to help out.

“We have people on this fire department that don’t do any firefighting, no medical at all,” Chief Cox said.

Volunteer fire departments run on community volunteers, so sometimes, you get a call to help someone you know.  Chief Cox says that part can be tough, but knowing you have the chance to help a neighbor motivates these departments.

“When it’s going on that’s not in our head,” Chief Cox said. “Just do it. But when we realize we make a difference, a person comes up and says thank you, it kinda gives you a jump start.  It energizes you some”

Chief Cox said Dauphin Island FR operates on less than $100,000 a year.  He also says the number of volunteer firefighters outnumbers the number of career firefighters nationwide.

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