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Posted on Jan 22, 2015

Fire district sends a call out for more local volunteers

Grant County Fire District No. 3 seeks new volunteers who are looking to help save lives in the Quincy Valley.

Volunteer-based fire departments across the nation are experiencing a decline in numbers, according to a press release from the fire district. This is problematic because fire districts, including the local district, rely heavily on volunteers.

About 80 volunteers respond to an average of 650 emergency calls a year for Grant County Fire District No. 3, which covers more than 500 square miles, according to the fire district.

To combat this trend, the fire district applied for and received in 2013 a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant from the federal government. The four-year grant funds a recruitment and retention coordinator for the fire district, a position currently held by firefighter Michele Talley.

In 2015, the fire district will apply for another SAFER grant to provide tuition assistance to attract and retain volunteers.

Volunteers are required to be trained as a Firefighter 1, in basic first aid and in wildland firefighting before going out on calls. Once they have this training, volunteers must  respond to a minimum of 10 percent of calls at their home station and attend two hours of drill per month.

“Training is the most important thing you can do,” Talley said. “A fire doesn’t care if you are a career or volunteer firefighter. It’s important that you have the same basic skills for your own safety and the safety of others.”

Volunteer firefighters receive a per diem for each shift they work and are further compensated based on a points-for-calls system at the end of the year. They also receive free air medical transport and accidental death and disability insurance.

Community members interested in volunteering or learning more about the program can contact Talley at 787-2713 or mtalley@gcfd3.net.

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