ROSE HILL, N.C. (WNCT) – Shortages are impacting just about everything these days. Volunteer firefighters are no exception.
9OYS spoke with two fire departments in Duplin County. Officials there said the need for more volunteers is becoming critical.
“When that fire alarm goes off. There’s not a single one of us that have to come up here. We do it because we want to,” said Chief of the Rose Hill Fire Department, Gary Boney.
At Rose Hill Fire Department, they have about 25 volunteers on the roster. As time ticks away, they worry about the future of the department.
“If we don’t get some volunteers, we’ll have to become paid. And they will see it in their tax bill, because that will be an expensive proposition,” said Boney.
They aren’t the only ones with these concerns. Chinquapin Volunteer Fire and Rescue posted this plea on its Facebook, urging for more volunteers.
“We need our community’s help, big, big time,” said Assistant Chief with Chinquapin Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Matthew Casey.
Casey explained a lot of the people on their staff are already working two and three jobs to stay afloat and can’t commit that much time to the department. They have about 27 volunteers currently and are looking to be at 40.
“It could mean once we get an alarm, you may have three or four people answer that call. And a large-scale fire or large-scale incident with only three or four people is very taxing,” said Casey. “If additional calls were to come out in our area, we would be unable to answer those because we’re already tied up with one.”
And while both departments continue working to recruit more volunteers, they stress the importance of the position itself.
“The community here if they have a call, they dial 911 and expect them to show up and we do but they don’t let what happens behind that in order to train and to get personnel to answer that call,” said Boney.
To learn more about what it takes to become a volunteer firefighter, click here.