According to Deputy Fire Chief Don Malone, the department received grant money that helped to pay for the added advertising.
SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash — Despite the late start, fire season is upon the Inland Northwest and fire districts in Spokane County have been busy trying to recruit volunteers.
For example, Spokane County Fire District 10 has recently posted several times on its Facebook page, asking for volunteers to join them in their mission of protecting their community.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Don Malone, the department received grant money that helped pay for the added advertising.
But, getting volunteers is a year-round mission for fire crews.
“A lot of our volunteers that come to work with us, they’re looking for full-time career jobs as well. So, a lot of times we train them up, we’ll get them, we’ll get them on shift and they’re only here for a couple of years until they get hired off somewhere else, so it’s kind of a revolving door,” said Malone.
According to Malone, SCFD 10 has about 15 career firefighters and around 60 volunteers, but the ideal number would be even higher at around 75.
But, it’s not just numbers they take into consideration.
“I would rather have 30 volunteers that are engaged 100 percent of the time,” said Malone. “So, it’s really a balance of how much activity that they can respond to or be a part of.”
Across the county, Spokane County Fire District 3 is also trying to recruit more volunteers.
Tom Brunke is SCFD 3’s Division Chief of Recruitment and Retention. He said the fire district has held steady over the years with volunteer numbers staying around 125.
However, SCFD 3 officials said their call numbers have gone up about 10% each year and their participation has also dropped over the years.
“I think life gets in the way. People are busier now than they have been,” said Brunke.
The drive to hire more firefighters is a big part of SCFD 3’s EMS levy on the upcoming August ballot.
If it passes, Brunke said it could help drop response times and staff more stations.
Yet, even with more calls and lower participation numbers, fire officials from both SCFD 3 and SCFD 10 said they’re ready for whatever call sparks up.
Brunke said the volunteers “have a big heart.”.
“When we need them, we call on them, they come running,” said Brunke.
For more information about becoming a volunteer firefighter for SCFD 10, click here.
For more information about becoming a volunteer firefighter for SCFD 3, click here.
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