Need for volunteer firefighters - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Need for volunteer firefighters

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The state of Texas has seen a decrease in volunteer firefighters.

Fire departments here say they are seeing some of their lowest numbers this year for volunteer firefighters.

The training captain at the Randall county fire department, Jacob Mitchell, says he is training a group of 4 volunteers, but this time last year he had a group of 13.

The  fire department says the decrease comes from changes in society and stricter training requirements.

"With people in their community and having to work and meet the regulations is the biggest downfall that we are falling into. It is just time away from family and just maintaining being a volunteer."

Randall County Fire Chief, James Amerson says over last five years Texas has made a lot of state mandated changes to volunteer training.

"The time it takes to train and to be a volunteer is pretty significant . It is not just some you come in and do on a moments notice.
 The Randall County Fire Department says they rely on volunteers during wild fire season.

"Especially now during our active season. We need all the help we can get. Our department is a part paid, but mostly volunteer department so we rely heavily on our volunteers for service."

Mitchell says the need for volunteers is really important for small towns in the panhandle.
"These smaller communities need people to step up and be there for their community. To take awareness of being on the fire side or EMS side or sheriff side."

Right now volunteer fire fighters have to become EMS certified, which on average takes about a year to a year in half on top of their fire training.