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Volunteer Fire Departments


ON. FOR MANY VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS IN CENTRAL ALABAMA IT’S A STRUGGLE WITH FUNDING AND MANPOWER… THEY ARE ALSO HAVING A TOUGH TIME GETTING NEW RECRUITS.. CBS 42 NEWS REPORTER MATT FERNANDEZ IS LOOKING INTO WHAT THAT MEANS FOR YOU.HE JOINS US NOW IN THE STUDIO. SHERRI, I SPOKE WITH THE FIRE CHIEF OF DAVIS LAKE PATRICK ESKEW.. HE SAYS WITH FIRE FIGHTERS NOT GETTING PAID AND STILL HAVING TO WORK THEiR REGULAR JOBS ITS TOUGH.. VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS THROUGHOUT CENTRAL ALABAMA SAY ITS A CONSTANT BATTLE TO RECRUIT AND KEEP VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS….PATRICK ESKEW IS THE FIRE CHIEF AT DAVIS LAKE, AND TELLS ME THIS IS BECAUSE OF SEVERAL REASONS… ((14-19))”because of jobs and family, they decide to give up, so we start running short, and start to try to find more people.” ESKEW SAYS THEY CURRENTLY HAVE 12 FIRE FIGHTERS. BESIDES MANPOWER THESE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS ARE DEALING WITH FUNDING ISSUES….ESKEW SAYS THEY NEED TO RAISE ABOUT 50- THOUSAND DOLLARS ON THEIR OWN TO CONTINUE TO OPERATE ANNUALLY. “do fundraiser and donations, that’s how we build our budget is out of fundraiser. ” SOME FIRE DEPARTMENTS HAVE MADE THE TRANSITION FROM VOLUNTEER TO ALMOST ALL THEIR STAFF PAID…ONE DEPARTMENT INCLUDES CAHABA VALLEY WHICH TRANSITIONED ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO. ((51-1:02))”as the district has grown the income from our fire dues has got larger with the form of taxation we have had the budget to hire more personnel and get more equipment.” SINCE GOING FROM VOLUNTEER TO PAID THEY HAVE GROWN THEIR STAFF FROM 10 TO 45 FIRE FIGHTERS… THEY STILL DO HAVE SOME VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS.. THEY ARE PART OF THE RESIDENT PROGRAM WHERE THEY ARE EARNING THEIR PROCESSIONAL CERTIFICATION. THE DEPARTMENT OFFERS THEM SOME GOOD INCENTIVE INCLUDING A FREE APARTMENT WHICH HELPS WITH RECRUITING. “its a good way to keep the resources to help supliment our manpower and its helps train for our future in the department.” VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS SAY WITH THE PERSONELL THEY HAVE THEY WILL DO THEIR BEST TO PROTECT PEOPLE IN THEIR COMMUNITY…LIVE IN THE STUDIO MATT FERNANDEZ CBS 42 NEWS LOCAL COVERAGE YOU CAN COUNT

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