One thing communities absolutely need is their local fire station… Where brave firefighters are constantly responding to local emergencies.
What many people don’t know, is that most of the men and women in West Virginia that gear up in these uniforms are actually volunteers. So what does it take to be one of these selfless heroes? In honor of National Firefighter Day, I’m going to show you.
After long days working at full-time jobs, these volunteers dedicate the rest of their time to keeping our community safe.
Jeff Johnson, the Assistant Chief Firefighter at Mount Hope Fire Department, told us, “We have people who work all different hours in different professions. You’ll see that quite a bit in the volunteer service. We may have a dentist and a carpenter and a lawyer. It’s great to bring all of that together under one umbrella.”
And how they’re able to do that is thanks to technology. Whenever a call comes in, these first responders receive it straight to their cell phones. And just like every other fire department, they are at the scene within minutes.
Paula Johnson, the Assistant Chief of EMS, explained, “There really is no difference between a professional firefighter or one that works at a paid department versus a volunteer department. They both undergo the exact same training.”
Volunteers are required to complete 120 hours of training, pass background checks, and be at least 18 years old. However if you are under the age requirement, you can qualify as an explorer.
C.J. Johnson, Explorer Firefighter, said, “We mostly help with rolling hose like after they com back from a structure fire or we help with rolling hose or help with the equipment and we do training.”
Ninety-seven percent of West Virginia relies on volunteer fire departments.
And despite the demanding hours and 0 pay, these residents have risen to the challenge and get involved for a strong desire to help others.