Heartland fire departments are asking for more volunteers

Volunteer firefighter shortage

MILLERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Volunteer firefighters are getting harder to find. The National Fire Protection Agency reports a 20 percent drop in men and women ready to serve across the country.

“Nobody has time to sit back and take their time for anything and much less time to volunteer and give free time," Millersville, Mo. Fire Chief Ray Warner said.

He says there is always an ongoing battle to keep volunteer firefighters at his station.

“We’ll have a lot of people and then a lot will quit, and we will have a few people and then we’ll get more," he said. “The society now a days everything is a rush-rush society.”

He said people in rural areas need the help the most because they do not have the luxury of having paid departments near them.

“So, they have to have protection and the only way we can protect them is to have a volunteer fire departments out and around,” he said.

Housing developer Kenny Spooler said its important for Millersville to have volunteer firefighters. Without them, his renters would have to wait a long time to get emergency help.

“It would be Jackson that would be closest, and we not in Jackson city limits, so its almost a must to have them for response time," he said.

Spooler said he admires the men and woman devote their free time to help communities in need.

“I volunteer in other stuff, but I’ve never volunteered at a fire department and I really do appreciate them doing that," he said.

Chief Warner said volunteering is not just something you decide to do overnight but something you are born to do.

“I think its more something that’s just in your blood but its like the little kid that always wanted to be firefighter when he grows up," he said.

If you are interested in being a part of a volunteer squad, Chief Warner said your local department should have more information.

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