Volunteer fire department ranks dwindling - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Volunteer fire department ranks dwindling

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When you pick up the phone to call for help in an emergency, you presume that firefighters will come to your aid.  But, some volunteer based departments say there aren't always enough people to staff their fire houses.

Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department has a rich history in Kanawha County.

They have a strong fleet of vehicles and equipment.

But, Chief Terry White said finding people to use them is a different story. In the past few years their roster has been cut in half leaving only about 10 people to cover calls. Most of those volunteers also have full time jobs.

"It just seems like everyone is too busy doing everything else but not for their community," White said, about his department's recruitment problems.

It is a trend happening at many other volunteer departments across the state. More than 80% of the state depends on volunteer fire department coverage. But White says the situation is troublesome.

"Right now it is getting to a crisis situation," White said.

Lakewood pays for training for new firefighters. They also have a junior program for people as young as 16. If you are interested in helping your local department, stop by and ask about their requirements. Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department hosts training sessions on Monday evenings.