Southside Volunteer Fire Department like many others in Henderson County is in desperate need of volunteers.

“The department needs firefighters who are able to take time out of their day” Lt. Ike Smith said.

Applicants must be able to pass a background check and after a 90 day probation will be full fledged fire fighters.

“We do all the training, they do not have to be certified for anything. Some volunteers were able to get jobs with paid departments because of the training provided by VFD's,” Smith said.

Fire Academy alone averages around $4800. Training opportunities are a huge benefit to joining a volunteer department. EMT school, Fire Academy, Search and Rescue, dive training etc all cost money, but with a local VFD offering to train you, this could potentially save applicants thousands of dollars and provide the edge they need to apply to larger paid departments after gaining much needed experience.  

Many people do not realize in rural communities, some departments are 100% volunteer. Without brave men and women willing to step up and fill those boots, who will come?

What would you do if your house was on fire and nobody came? What if your loved one was in there?

In rural areas, the first people on the scene of an accident in rural America is someone just like you, who got up from the dinner table, or left work. They drop everything day or night and rush to the communites aid as a volunteer. Why do they risk their lives to help their fellow man for free?  Simply stated, Someone has to. Smaller towns do not have the budget for a paid department.

What's in it for me? Is the question many young people, and some not so young, ask themselves in regards to volunteering, which is an issue as the older generation reaches retirement age.

“Trying to get the new generation of people to volunteer is a hard struggle,” Jay Woods, Malakoff Fire Chief said in a previous interview. “I enjoy the fact that I make a difference and impact on people’s lives.”

According to Woods, volunteering your time as a  younger person in this profession could lead to so many opportunities for you. Free training, experience, making connections and gaining the time and experience to build a resume could lead to several career opportunities.

Volunteering gives many who dreamed of a career in one of these fields the opportunity to make it a reality, but even if being a professional firefighter is not in your career plans, volunteers are critical in maintaining safety in the community.

It gives a sense of purpose and is a great way to give back to your community and help others.

Volunteer Fire departments consist of ordinary men and women called to do extraordinary things and they save lives every day.

Anyone willing to help out their community is welcome to attend a drill night which is every other Monday to fill out an application. You need to bring a Drivers license and a copy of your driving record to the station at 9630 FM 59. Call Ike Smith at 903-286-3930 if you have questions.

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