First Posted: 1/15/2009
Wanted: a few good men and women willing to work long, unpredictable hours for very little pay in a very dangerous profession. Can save lives and property. Can reduce home insurance costs.
Will the pros outweigh the cons in this employment opportunity? The Parkton Volunteer Fire Department sure hopes so.
The department’s Chief, Mitchell Jacobs, has been advertising on the marquee out front of the Parkton Fire Department for some time now, but there have been no takers. In fact, the department has lost three members recently, one to service in Iraq, another to the National Guard and another to the Garner FD.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office has alerted the department that it might lose its fire rating of 7 if it doesn’t have more firefighters respond to calls. If that rating goes up to a 10, homeowners in the Piney Forest Fire District, the official name of the Parkton Fire Department’s district, will see an increase in their insurance premiums. Worse, much worse, residents may see a decline in the department’s ability to fight the fires that might consume property and endanger lives. Chief Jacobs is doing everything he can to avoid both scenarios, even having his Piney Forest Fire District board of directors consider pay for professional firefighters.
Chief Jacobs says he needs at least four firefighters who can respond to calls during the day. His 22-member department can handle calls after daytime work shifts end, but they cannot put enough firefighters on trucks to respond to calls during the day to meet State standards.
“We are recruiting volunteers, at least four, who can take the training and respond to calls during daylight hours,” he said. “We have been trying to get new personnel for a while, but we don’t see them coming. We are in desperate need, really.
“If there are people out there, male and female, ages 18 and up, who are interested in this important and satisfying work, all they need to do is to come to the fire station from 7 pm until 10 pm on any Tuesday, which is our training night. They can fill out an application that first night, and if they have enough interest to return for three more Tuesday night training sessions, we can vote them into the department. Other, more intensive, training would follow before we would put them into a burning structure. Ideally these volunteers should live in the Piney Forest, but this not required.
“There is no cost to volunteers. We will provide the turnout gear, the pagers and other equipment. The only out of pocket cost might be the red light for their personal vehicle, but even that red light is not required. And we do pay a little, $2 per call. We pay this amount one time per year, in December, and it can add up to $300 or $400, depending upon the number of calls the firefighter responds to,” Chief Jacobs said.
If you are interested in joining the Parkton Volunteer Fire Department, you can simply attend one of the training sessions from 7 to 10 on any Tuesday night, or you can call Chief Mitchell Jacobs at 858-2173 or 308-2015.