Devine Volunteer Fire and Rescue would like to announce that they are currently developing a benefit package for its volunteers.
“We’re working on providing things like supplemental insurance, financial aid for volunteers having trouble with bills, a retirement program, along with the workers compensation we already have,” Chief Greg Atkinson said.
These benefits are a way of helping those who have made it their mission to serve in the community with the department.
“We want volunteers to be comfortable, because we really are a family,” Chief Atkinson said. “We’re always barbecuing or doing something to get together. There are three volunteers up at the house right now hanging out. We’re looking after our family.”
If you’d like to become a part of this family, applications are always available up at the house. All you need is a state ID, no felonies, 18 years of age, or 17 with parental consent, and a willingness to dedicate your time and energy, and you can apply in minutes.
“Everyone always thinks ‘Oh, I don’t have anything useful for those guys’, but all you need is time and effort,” Chief Atkinson said. “Besides that, everyone has some skill we can use at the station. We’ll teach you everything you need to do.”
When a volunteer first begins, they’ll have to take an online course provided by the station, Intro to Fire Fighting. They’ll also be taught about the station’s layout, the trucks, and their different uses.
“Once you finish this step, you’ll come with us on runs,” Chief Atkinson said. “You can’t lead a team at this point, so you’ll be doing whatever we tell you at this point.”
After this, volunteers will take their Fire Fighting 1 course and work with EMS to be certified as an EMR and EMT. With these, you’ll be able to command trucks and run scenes, all with no supervision needed and at the comfortability level of the volunteer.
“I want to be clear here, we never fault people for refusing to exceed what they are comfortable with,” Chief Atkinson. “If we tell you to vent a house on your own and you’re not comfortable or you think you’re not ready, we’ll always give you another task.”
In total, the process can take 2 to 6 months.
“It all depends on the time you can put in,” Chief Atkinson said. “Besides the course work, all we require is volunteers to go on at least 10% of runs, half of our 12 meetings each year, and half of our 36 training days.”
By Noah Davila