Moderate to heavy rain likely late Thursday Friday. A few showers still possible into Saturday. Nice weather Sunday with more showers and storms for Labor Day.More >>
Moderate to heavy rain likely late Thursday Friday. A few showers still possible into Saturday. Nice weather Sunday with more showers and storms for Labor Day. More >>
WOOD COUNTY (WAOW) -
Tom Heiser has been a volunteer firefighter in Grand Rapids
for 30 years.
"Fire departments go on Christmas Day. They go on holidays.
They go at 3 a.m.," said Heiser.
Fire officials said that might be why fewer young people are
becoming volunteer firefighters. According to the National Volunteer Fire
Council, the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped 18 percent since
Arpin is part of the trend.
"As a department, we're all getting older, and there are no
young people that are filling the bottom of our roster to replace us as we
retire," said Capt. Chad Godard of the Arpin Fire Department.
The Arpin Fire Department has 32 volunteers. That's 6 short
of a full roster. As a result, they need more help from other fire departments.
"We do our best to keep our community safe, but as in any
department, of course, a full roster would help," said Godard.
But not all Fire Departments are seeing a shortage. The
Grand Rapids Fire Chief Dan Bohn said he has a full roster of 55 volunteers.
"When we have a fire, it's hands on. You need a lot of
people there in a quick hurry," said Bohn.
Grand Rapids fire officials said they've seen some younger
people signing on to volunteer. Heiser said he thinks that's because the job is
worth all the hard work.
"It's just a good feeling when you have somebody walk up to
you and say, ‘Thank you, you know, for what you did,' because then you know you
made a mark in their life," said Heiser.
Fire officials say they're trying to promote interest in
firefighting to boost the number of younger volunteers.
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