Daleville, AL - The numbers are surprising. Over the past three decades the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped by 18 percent. In, Daleville they desperately need fire and rescue volunteers.
"With the economy getting like it is getting many people have given up volunteering. The time they would spend volunteering they're dedicating to putting food on the table with other jobs, and having sometimes to work three and four jobs," said Jerry Sapp.
Many Daleville police officers wear multiple hats as fire and rescue volunteers. In fact, Jerry Sapp works as a police lieutenant, 911 coordinator, assistant fire chief, and rescue squad captain. And with only 15 other volunteers they are all beginning to burn out.
"It definitely wears you down when you don't have enough people pitching in to carry the load.
Not having any down time. Not only do they run with us when they can, but they're also having to get up the next day and go to their paying jobs," said Sapp.
Now Sapp is calling for people willing to give whatever time they can. While there's no actual pay, the work can be fulfilling.
"Are you going to get rich doing it? No you're not. The satisfaction of knowing you actually helped someone in their time of need. That's where it comes in to play. That's the pay that you get," said Sapp.
Daleville Public Safety Chief Harvey Mathis said, "We depend on volunteers to help respond because we have limited resources and limited officers. Volunteers help us give better response time and provide better care for the citizens of Daleville."
Volunteers must be at least 19 years old, have a valid Alabama driver's license and a good driving history.
To be an EMT volunteer, you will need a state licensed EMT basic certification, take an emergency vehicle operators course (EVOC) and a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course.