There’s a critical need of volunteer firefighters in the Crossroads
Chief Ronald Williams of the Refugio Volunteer Fire Department says several volunteer fire departments are struggling.
REFUGIO, Texas – There’s a critical need of volunteer firefighters in the Crossroads, said Chief Ronald Williams of the Refugio Volunteer Fire Department.
Chief Williams has volunteered for more than 40 years.
It’s become a serious problem nationwide, said Chief Williams.
According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, it estimates that 682,600 volunteer firefighters served in the U.S. in 2017.
This is down significantly from the 814,850 volunteer firefighters that were active in 2015, according to the report.
The report also shows there’s more of a decline of volunteers protecting communities with populations of 2,500 or fewer residents.
Chief Williams said the fire departments that are currently struggling are Austwell, Bayside, Woodsboro and Tivoli in Refugio County.
He shared that other volunteer fire departments in surrounding counties have also expressed their need for volunteers.
“If there’s an emergency, the volunteers are the ones that are going to show up … the small towns that can’t afford paid fire departments, they have the same issues that the big cities do,” said Chief Williams. “There are car wrecks, hazardous materials incidents, accidents, there’s house fires … all of these same things, we do all the same things the paid fire departments do … it’s crucial because it’s the cheapest form of fire protection you have out there.”
The smaller cities can’t afford to bring in firefighters for their fire departments, he said.
Chief Williams said they are also currently working on putting together a Fire Corps.
A Fire Corps is a nationwide deal. It’s designed to help local fire or EMS departments enhance their services by engaging community members to help with non-emergency tasks.
Chief Williams said training is open to anyone who is willing to work hard.
Training is free.
There are other roles available aside from volunteering as a firefighter.
For more information, please contact Chief Williams at 361-318-3738.
Chief Williams will direct you to where and what they need.
Also, community members in the surrounding counties that are interested can contact their local volunteer fire departments.
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