Volunteer Firefighters & EMS Are Unsung Heroes
Audio Assist Version
Why should everyone be familiar with the beautiful American tradition of helping others in a time of need? More than one million volunteer first responders take their firefighting duties very seriously. For more than 250 years, local fire departments across America have relied on the generous donations of volunteer firefighters to keep their communities safe and healthy. 97% of these volunteers serve communities with fewer than 25,000 residents. Of those, 49% protect small rural areas with fewer than 2,500 residents.
Each year, generous donations from the public, along with crucial support from local governments and businesses, enable fire departments across America to respond to emergency situations in some of the most remote regions of any county. Those residents would be at life-threatening risk if it weren’t for their amazing neighbors who have joined the local volunteer fire department.
Volunteer fire departments have been around for a long time. Where did they originate and who started them?
The first volunteer fire department began in Philadelphia in 1736. It was started by Benjamin Franklin. Yep, that’s right. He had seen the massive tragedies that occurred in his previous hometown of Boston. When he moved to Philadelphia, he vowed to make a difference in local emergency response. Little did he know that Volunteer Firefighters & EMS would continue to be the backbone of emergency response throughout the country for nearly 300 years.
What do volunteer firefighters do?
They are called to duty when emergency situations arise. emergency call-outs can vary from structure fires, car accidents, and traffic collisions to medical calls. Normally, a firefighter attends the scene of the emergency and performs first-responder duties such as search and rescue, first aid, and suppression activities. In addition, firefighters sometimes are dispatched to assist in the crime scene investigation and serve as witness protection agents in emergency court situations. In some cases, a firefighter may be dispatched to an emergency situation because he or she is the closest first-responder available.
What is a Public Duty?
When a member of the public calls 911, the dispatcher will dispatch first-responder personnel. These folks are all volunteers and are often referred to as public-duty firefighters. Some municipalities only have one first-responder fire station, while others have several different fire stations. Public-duty firefighters usually respond to residential fire and motor vehicle accidents. In addition, they are called upon to rescue people from utility falls, car accidents, and even severe weather conditions.
Who are Volunteer Firefighters & EMS?
Volunteer firefighters are not paid for their services. they often leave behind their family, friends, and loved ones in order to ensure that the public is safe. Because firefighters are working 24-hour shifts, some firefighters get two weeks of full-time work, followed by two weeks of on-call duty. Afterward, they return to their families and jobs.
Is being a volunteer firefighter hard work?
It’s very hard work. firefighters typically work 6 days a week for 12 to 14 hours a day. Furthermore, they usually train at least 3 hours a day. They must also attend firefighter training courses, including CPR and CPR/First Aid. These courses are usually held in the evenings, so most fire departments require their firefighters to work during the day. Additionally, firefighters must carry equipment and supplies on their persons at all times, as well as have the knowledge to operate them effectively. Furthermore, they must be able to work in extreme weather conditions, including heat, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.
How can I learn more about being a volunteer firefighter or EMS worker?
In Ohio, visit the Ohio Emergency Medical Services Website for all the details.
For our friends reading from other States, you may easily find a State by State directory through The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) website.