ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) — High gas prices are affecting local volunteer fire departments. Most volunteer departments say they are already over budget for the year.

“It used to take roughly $50. Now, we’re up to $120 filling them up,” says Chris Schiling, a firefighter with West Side Volunteer Fire Department.

Schiling says they fill up trucks when they get down to half a tank. So far this year, they have gone from about $400 a month in gas to $700.

“It’s hurtful because it cuts the budget back,” Schiling says. “You can’t buy other things.”

The same thing is happening at the Jefferson Volunteer Fire department. Their budget in 2021 was $4,000, but they spent less than $3,000 that year. Now in 2022, their budget is $3,500.

“So far this year, just in five months we are over our budget at $569,” says Chad Smarr, a firefighter with Jefferson VFD.

Gas prices also have a direct impact on the volunteers.

“Not just one of our trucks but our firefighters that volunteer just running the calls from their house to get to the station, they’re using their gas and everything too so it’s taking a pretty big impact on us,” Smarr says.

Smarr says now is time for the community to donate to their local volunteer fire department.

“We’re going to have to move money around and reallocate where it’s going to be needed,” Smarr says.  

Some of the departments are considering having firemen sleep overnight at the stations during weekends so they can save their own gas.