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Volunteer fire departments need more firefighters

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

Volunteer firefighters in Pike County say they are facing one major issue.

"Every fire department has issues with volunteers," said volunteer firefighter Steve Collier.

"It's not prone to one department. It's county wide. All volunteers are having real staffing problems right now," Volunteer Fire Chief and Firefighter Association President Randy Courtney said.

They say the problem exists because there are currently no incentives for anyone to volunteer. Proposed legislation would give volunteers a $1,000 tax credit.

"Something to make it worth an incentive to be out there in the middle of the night fighting fire, freezing to death, or whatever you're doing," Courtney said.

Officials say if they do not have enough volunteers, some rural departments could close leaving homes in those areas with less protection.

"We have some bigger fire departments, Shelby Valley, Elkhorn, Belfry. They're right off of main arteries of the roads, and they got a lot of people, but some of the smaller departments definitely are [in trouble]," Courtney said.

They say once people volunteer to fight fires, it's something that becomes a part of them.

"Once it gets in your blood, it's in your blood forever," Collier said.

Firefighters say it is urgent that the smaller departments add volunteers as soon as possible.

Anyone wanting to volunteer can contact the nearest fire department.

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