Firestations Looking For More Volunteers
Steven Feeney just graduated from high school, and is now pursuing his lifelong childhood dream.
"I've always wanted to be a fireman ever since I was a little kid," said Feeney, "I always thought they were very professional when they came in."
But aspiring firefighters like Steven are hard to come by; there's a decrease in the number of people applying to be volunteers.
That's put more stress on the current number of firefighters already serving.
For example, the East Valley Fire Department currently has 35 volunteer firefighters enrolled, they want to see that closer to 50.
"There's a big need nationally for volunteers," said Chief Mike Riel, "I've talked to a lot of organizations that are struggling right now with volunteerism in their own organizations too."
Years ago, stations used to be run almost entirely by volunteers.
Today, stations like East Valley have a full time staff to make up for that declining number, their reasoning; people are just too busy.
"A lot of it can be partly due to the economy, I think a lot of it is family commitments," said Chief Riel, "A lot of families have a lot of activities that surround their world; their family. There's a lot of involvement there."
For now, firestations will have to take what they can get, and hope applicants like Steven are prepared to tackle the duties of a firefighter.
"You have to find the special individual that's going to want to get up at 2 a.m.," said volunteer firefighter Darryl Sybouts, "Sure they might have to get up and go to work at 8 o'clock the next morning, but you've got to get the guy that's going to want to get up at 2 a.m. When somebody needs help."
"I'm very committed, I want to do anything that I can to make this dream possible," said Feeney.
The East Valley Fire Department says it's already received 7 applications for volunteer firefighters -- training for volunteers is expected to begin in September.
If you would like to volunteer, stop by your local fire department.
For those in the Moxee or Terrace Heights area, you can visit the East Valley website here.