Welcome to Town of Glen Volunteer Fire Department Inc.
The Challenge of Volunteer Fire Departments in 2022
The world is rapidly changing, affecting each of our lives dramatically. Technology has led to many positive changes in our ways of life. As our lives have evolved, our lives have become busier in many ways. Fewer of our Town residents work locally, many commute into the Capitol District or beyond. Many homes have 2 people working, and childcare is a challenge in many homes. Children’s activities are more numerous and varied than in the past.
The above factors affect our Volunteers and their families as well. This has led to fewer members being available during the daytime to assist our residents as well as those communities that surround us. Most departments within our county depend on automatic mutual aid for the bulk of our calls. Many of our members who do work locally cannot leave their employment to assist with our calls. We have an aging membership just like every other Volunteer agency in our county, and our country as a whole. The desire for new, members of any age is something that will never go away. Recruitment and retention of Volunteer Firefighters is becoming more challenging every year. The Town of Glen Volunteer Fire Dept. would welcome new members. We have many jobs that need to be done, administrative, maintenance, fund raising, training, are all tasks that need to be accomplished beyond the traditional firefighting rolls.
We feel that there is a need to educate, for lack of a better term, our town residents on what it we actually do as a volunteer organization, and how we assist our town’s residents and visitors in their time of need. While the membership strives to help the community to the best of our ability, we have been struggling. We are experiencing an increase in call volume for calls for service, that are not true emergencies. Overuse of the 911 system is problematic. The general malaise feeling, the stubbed toe from 2 weeks ago, are not reasons to call 911 for the fire department or an ambulance. Waiting until 2 am to call 911 for a feeling that one has had since noon the day before, is almost abuse of the system. Overuse of emergency services is leading to burnout of the few volunteers we have. The multiple late-night calls, that are not true emergencies can also act as a deterrent for community members possibly considering joining a local department. Missing sleep and responding to calls that are not true emergencies is often cited as a reason not to volunteer.
The shortage of volunteers is certainly not unique to the Town of Glen, it has been a nationwide trend for years. The local volunteer firefighter spends hundreds if not thousands of hours throughout a career of service, training to do what we do. In addition to the training, responding to emergency calls, administrative taskings, public outreach year-round, is all done as volunteers, and for free. There is a contract between the Town of Glen and the Fire Dept, that contract pays for operational expenses but none of the labor is compensated. The operational expenses of a volunteer fire department are quite high. Fire apparatus, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, our turn out gear, air packs, all mandated by federal law are extremely expensive. Insurance, fuel oil, electricity, diesel fuel costs are all rising. We strive to keep expenses under control, while acquiring state of the art lifesaving equipment to better serve our residents. Many hours are spent administering the purchasing, and personnel needs of the department.
If you have a true emergency, any type of fire, car accident, life threatening medical emergency we are here for you. Don’t hesitate to speak with any of our members, ask questions, and consider joining the department. We have a social media presence on Facebook, as well as a website, if you would like to contact us. Help us help you.
Town of Glen Volunteer Fire Department Inc.
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