Fighting fires without funds
It's an untold story and few really know what volunteer services are available in Houston County.
The men and women who volunteer to keep you safe with limited funds.
Here at the Hodgesville Fire Department Captain John Perkins, now serving the department for 8 years, comes on a slow night to check the trucks, making sure they are ready to go just in case a call does come into the station.
It's a 24 hour 7 day a week job, that every person on staff volunteers time to accomplish.
For Perkins, his fulltime job as an Emergency Preparedness Specialist for Southern Nuclear at Farley Plant.
But, previous experience drove Perkins to donate his time.
"I decided to be a volunteer firefighter for many reasons, for one I was a firefighter in the navy and I got all my firefighting skills from there, and I decided to branch out and meet people," says Captain John Perkins with the Hodgesville Volunteer Firefighter Department.
A quest to meet people quickly turned into a passion to serving others.
"I am passionate about protecting my community and responding," says Captain John Perkins with the Hodgesville Volunteer Firefighter Department.
That response is what the community needs.
"Most people dial 911 and they expect someone to come, but to run a fire department...It takes money it takes man power, our gear is probably around $5,000 a set. And our air packs are around $10, 000, so it takes a lot of funding, " says Captain John Perkins with the Hodgesville Volunteer Firefighter Department.
Funding isn't the only issue, finding enough people to donate their time is also a major concern.
"Regular firefighters get paid to be on shift and to go through that training, volunteer firefighters have to come out after work, do it late at night, 6:00 to10:00 p.m. roughly three times a week for about 3 or 4 months straight, " says Captain John Perkins with the Hodgesville Volunteer Firefighter Department.
The story is no different at Rehobeth Volunteer Fire Station where the same amount of funds equipment and dedication is required.
"We all have equipment, it might not be the best of shape, some of it may be out of date, and it think that is something for the community too, with us being volunteer, we charge bare minimum for what we do, if we charge at all," says Michael Scheetz volunteer firefighter with the town of Rehobeth.
"Every 10 years, our equipment goes out of date and it has to be replaced, and that's a huge cost for us, so on top of the fuel for the truck, that's a big thing we have to consider to support," says Michael Scheetz volunteer firefighter with the town of Rehobeth.
Rehobeth Chief Kenneth Wells says it's difficult to identify needs and then find the money to pay for them.
"We have to keep up training, to buy new equipment, most of our money comes from grants and things like that, that we have to apply for, " says Rehobeth Fire Chief Kenneth Wells.
But sometimes grant money that does come to the departments just isn't enough.
"That's kind of what the county supplies us with just enough to keep the department going, the money is greatly appreciated, but without that money we probably would be able to be here, " says Rehobeth Fire Chief Kenneth Wells.
And these volunteers say being there when people need assistance is what it's all about.
"Just know that we are here, even though it's volunteer, we try to keep staff here so that we have some one available to go on a call, " says Michael Scheetz volunteer firefighter with the town of Rehobeth.
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