South Carolina Fire Departments need more volunteers
Cpt. Brick Lewis, hopes USC will be the new volunteers.
Fire career hopefuls line up their equipment before they start training.
By: Safaniya Stevenson
The Columbia fire department is looking for more volunteers and career firefighters. The fire department is hoping young people in the community will help fill public safety volunteer positions.
Department spokesman Brick Lewis says USC students should consider becoming volunteer firefighters and fire safety volunteers.
"We hope our next wave of volunteers will be USC students. We can offer them pay while in school. If they have free time they can volunteer on their own time. And even if you're not interested in becoming a career, it looks great on resume. You learn a lot even by just volunteering," says Lewis.
The department has around 160 fire volunteers but would like to have over 200 in order to have more people in their rotations. Lewis says they are short 15 to 25 career firefighters. Lewis says even if everyone in their current recruit class graduates, they will still be short firefighters.
The shortage of firefighters has affected some fire departments' ability to respond to emergency calls. Lewis says that even with the shortage of fire staff the fire department still responds properly.
"We are always providing that service. We have guidelines and we follow those guidelines. This ensures we send the proper resources and even manpower to those calls," says Lewis.
The department reports it can get over 50 emergency response calls in just one day. Those calls range from fires, to HAZMAT emergencies, to medical emergencies.
Lewis says that if you're interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter or career firefighter you can visit the fire departments website and a recruit officer will contact you in 24 hours.
New volunteers and recruits will become part of a team that serves over 500,000 people in the city of Columbia.