Vol­un­teer fire de­part­ments to hold re­cruit­ment day

Maryland Independent - - News - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

Al­most all of the 17 vol­un­teer fire de­part­ments of Charles County will be open­ing their doors to the pub­lic on Sun­day from noon to 4 p.m. for the sec­ond an­nual re­cruit­ment day as there is a press­ing need for more vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers and EMS per­sonal through­out Charles County, ac­cord­ing to Bill Smith, a spokesman for the Charles County Vol­un­teer Fire and EMS As­so­ci­a­tion.

“It’s very re­ward­ing. I’ve been in­volved for 41 years now,” Smith said. “It’s a sense of giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.”

“Bring your chil­dren; bring any­one you want to,” he con­tin­ued. “They can take a tour of the sta­tion; they can look at all the equip­ment that the vol­un­teers op­er­ate with. We’d love to have them there.”

“Each year the call vol­ume, the de­mand for ser­vice in­creases, and our vol­un­teerism seems to be dwin­dling,” he told the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent. And if com­mit­ment is an is­sue for a po­ten­tial vol­un­teer, “There’s not an ac­tual re­quire­ment for the num­ber of hours that you put into a vol­un­teer de­part­ment,” though the ex­pec­ta­tion is that one signs up for at least a few hours of duty a week.

The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process is pro­vided for free by the Univer­sity of Mary­land Fire Res­cue In­sti­tute lo­cated in La Plata, and once cer­ti­fied, the vol­un­teer will also be be able to use it in other states as well, should they move out of Mary­land in the fu­ture.

Smith also high­lighted the op­por­tu­nity for high school ju­niors and se­niors to en­roll in the Charles County Fire and EMS Cadet Pro­gram, in which stu­dents leave early from school af­ter at­tend­ing morn­ing classes and travel to the Fire Res­cue In­sti­tute to learn the skills of a fire­fighter and EMS per­son­nel. Upon com­plet­ing the course, stu­dents will re­ceive 17 col­lege cred­its.

And even if one did not want to vol­un­teer as a fire­fighter or EMS per­son­nel, there is also a need for those who would pre­fer ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties as well.

“The vol­un­teers in Charles County, both fire and EMS, do their jobs with ded­i­ca­tion and they do it for free. So, I would ask the cit­i­zens in our county, when they see a fire­fighter or an EMT … just walk up to them and say ‘thank you.’ It means a lot.”

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