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Area Fire Departments Struggle to Find Volunteers

July 10, 2018 - 8:46 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Dozens of area fire departments depend on volunteers to fill out their staffs, but those volunteers are getting harder to find.

For example, Hillsboro Fire Protection District’s Assistant Chief Brian Gaudet says his department is nine volunteers short, and for the first time, has turned to advertising to fill the open spots.

Gaudet says the prevalence of two income families with kids in sports has contributed to the shortage, along with a lack of training opportunities.

"You used to be able to go to just about every community college within in the St. Louis metropolitan area and receive fire service training and things like that, and maybe get introduced to some people in the fire service, networking to find jobs and things like that -- they've all gone by the wayside," he says.

Gaudet says the five-month training process and commitment of 100 to 200 hours a year also keeps some from joining up.

“We definitely encourage somebody with a family and wife and things like that to take a long hard look at the time commitment before committing to be a volunteer,” he says.

If you'd like to be a volunteer firefighter in Hillsboro, you can pick up an application at Station One or at Hillsborofire.org.