FRUITLAND, MO (KFVS) - The Heartland is full of volunteer fire departments, but now a fire chief in Cape Girardeau County is asking voters to make his department full-time.
The Fruitland Fire Department have grown tremendously over the last few years, but now the chief says its too many emergency calls to keep up.
"Last year we ran 414 calls, year before was 406, year before that was 350," chief Rob Francis said.
Francis said that's a lot of emergency calls for a volunteer fire department.
Fruitland firefighters responds to a large portion of Cape Girardeau Co. stretching as far north as New Wells and as far east as Neely's Landing.
"Sometimes we have two or three calls a day and it gets rough getting people in," the chief said. "We've had some medical calls that we've had no one available.
Now the chief said he wants to change that.
Francis hopes to turn his fire department into a 24-hour operating station - but that will only happen if the voters approve it.
"The people seem to be interested in doing it," he said. "So the next step was to go ahead and put the proposition out and put it to the voters and see if they really wanted us to do that!"
The proposition is asking voters to approve an additional tax of no more than 50 cents on one hundred dollars assessed valuation.
The money will fund three full-time emergency responders working three different shifts.
"Response times will be a whole lot faster," Francis said. "They will be based here at the station. As soon as the call comes in within minutes we will be out the door."
So on April 4, Francis said he hopes Fruitland residents make time to go to the polls.
"Let your voice be heard, whether its for the proposition or against, that's the biggest thing is having your voice be heard on polling day,' he said.
The chief also says he is optimistic the vote will pass, but he knows there are some residents that may not be too convinced on a new tax.
Voters will their decision on April 4.