Volunteer Firefighters

By: Melissa Reynolds
By: Melissa Reynolds

Finding volunteer firefighters is just about everywhere. In West Virginia, volunteers have proposed a program like the National Guard. Where volunteers would get paid for training and calls. But, local officials say that's not likely.

"There are times when you get two to three calls and you just don't have enough," Stephen Grepps says.

Stephen Grepps has been a volunteer for more than 20 years; he says not having enough volunteers is a big problem.

"They had a fire yesterday up in the mountain over there in Dunes-they were constantly calling for help," Grepps says.

In a perfect world there'd be three people on each engine, that's not always the case.

"I think we are having a bit more trouble now it's very difficult people have so many commitments," Amy Regnier says.

Most volunteers are juggling a full time job, family and the fire department.

"It's time consuming all the training then you run calls it's hard on your family," Greg Smith says.

"Sometimes you'll have birthdays and holidays and when that happens you might have to jump up and run to a call," Grepps says.

Augusta County's volunteer coordinator says more and more training is required every year, for both volunteer and paid firefighters.

"There's no difference they train the same they train together-there's a lot of volunteers out here that have more training than career do," Minday Craun says.

But, with the tight budget situation, it's just not possible to pay them.

"If we had to put career people in all the stations, your taxes would have to go up," Craun says.

But, more volunteers are needed to handle your emergencies.

"They go out and do things that other people would never think about doing-they run into the fire when everyone's running out," Regnier says.

The departments need all kinds of volunteers, even if you don't want to be a firefighter.


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