Volunteer Firefighters: why they do it

They may not leap over buildings in a single bound but they do run into them with flames blazing at up to 1500 degrees.

Our ABC 10 News Now Reporter, Danielle Davis spoke with some local volunteer firefighters to find out why they risk life and limb at a moments notice.

“There have been several close calls, I partially fell through a floor once on a call on a fire.  We’ve had roof collapses, building collapses that came very close to injuring someone  but you use your training, you use your judgment to try and keep out of harms way in those situations,” said Gary Johnson, Chocolay Township Volunteer Firefighter.

Volunteer fire fighters are required to have the same state certification and training hours as career firefighters, the only difference is full-time fire fighters get paid to risk their lives whereas volunteers get a stipend that primarily covers gas for their car.

“Fire Department officials say while they can’t afford a full-time fire staff, they do spend tax dollars on much needed equipment like fire engines, fire trucks and rescue tankers,” reported Danielle Davis.

Chocolay Township has 25 volunteer firefighters. The amount of calls that come in and  budgeting prevents their outfit from becoming a fully staffed fire department. To get the job done, they have agreements with other townships to assist as needed. But not all fire departments are required to assist, they just do.

“It’s rewarding to see that many people come together, 50 plus firefighters come together to help contain a wildfire so that it didn’t spread and do any further damage, said Adam Holloway, Chocolay Township, Volunteer Firefighter.

Not everyone is cut out for public service and these volunteers tell me it’s something that just fell into place for them.

“It’s the sense of being out there and helping people who are in the worst time of their life seeing their homes on fire and being there to assist and help and save what you can.  I’m always amazed in those situations how grateful people are when it’s just a few small items that you are able to save.  It makes it all worthwhile,” continued Johnson.

Brave, dedicated and fearless, firefighters all over the world risk their lives everyday.  Full–time firefighters are just as brave as their volunteer counterparts, but it must take a special type of person to run toward flames when they aren’t paid to do so.

“I guess you can say we are brave but it’s more of, we do this to serve our community and everyone serves their community in their own way and this is the way that those of us on the fire department have decided to give back,” continued Holloway.

For ABC 10 and CW 5 News Now, I’m Danielle Davis.