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Fire departments need volunteers

The Glencoe Fire Department is looking for a few good volunteers.
So are many other volunteer fire departments across the state, and the nation, particularly in rural areas.
The shortage has been documented by studies and well-reported throughout the state and national media. While studies show that volunteer departments are dwindling in numbers, the harder question to address is “why?”
Is it a lack of time, more stringent training requirements, a more transient population, less community commitment?
Volunteer firefighters are held to the same professional standards as their professional, paid contemporaries, but most rural communities cannot afford to staff a paid department. In fact, many departments hold fundraisers to help finance their equipment, training and vehicles.
A few will offer a stipend to help attract volunteers, and most will offer a pension program. But, by and large, departments rely heavily on unpaid volunteers.
If you read today’s article about a longtime Glencoe firefighter and a relatively new member, you’ll find that the reward is not to be found in salaries and pensions, but in being able to be of service to your communities. Firefighters are often the front line of safety in communities — providing fire protection, cleaning up hazardous materials spills, assisting at vehicle accidents and numerous other events.
Firefighters are, as one volunteer pointed out, the people who are with us during some of the darkest moments of our lives.
Volunteer fire departments consist of neighbors helping neighbors. Please consider being one of those “good neighbors.” Our community needs more of those.