Local volunteer fire departments look for members - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Local volunteer fire departments look for members

Posted:
Canton Firefighters remove equipment from one of their trucks. Canton Firefighters remove equipment from one of their trucks.
Bunker gear hang inside the Canton Fire Department building. Bunker gear hang inside the Canton Fire Department building.
A sign indicates where the gear of Capt. Jacob Moffitt is. A sign indicates where the gear of Capt. Jacob Moffitt is.
CANTON, Mo. (WGEM) -

If you call the fire department in an emergency in the Tri-States, in most towns volunteers will respond.

70 percent of American firefighters are volunteers according to National Fire Protection Association. However, area departments say numbers are dropping. 

After nearly 15 years on the department, Canton Fire Chief Joe LaCount has seen manpower dwindle.

"I thought maybe it was just us," LaCount said.

LaCount feels it's largely due to fewer jobs in smaller communities.

"We don't have as many people living here in town because we don't have the industry," LaCount explained. "They move closer to to Quincy or closer to Keokuk."

One place the department has turned to for new recruits is Culver-Stockton College. That's where Captain Jacob Moffitt came from five years ago.

"One of the guys was already on and I decided to come down," Moffitt said. "I started training and I just fell in love with it."

Since then, Moffitt says the four volunteers he joined with have since left and others with them. 

"It's a hard thing to stick with because you don't get paid," Moffitt explained. "I mean it's volunteer."

Most departments nationwide are volunteer departments, something LaCount realized when he helped in previous disasters across the country.

"It takes a lot of money to fund a fire department," LaCount added. "There's a lot of someone else will do it."

Moffitt hopes more residents notice the department does as much as it can in emergencies.

"When their house is burning, there's only four or five of us," Moffitt said. "We can only do so much. The more people we have the better it is."

LaCount thinks people may be surprised by what they can do.

"I think people are scared of their own ability sometimes," LaCount said. "They don't know how they can contribute. There's a place for everybody in every house." 

Chief Joe LaCount stressed again it's not just Canton, many departments across the area need volunteers. He says if you want to volunteer, you should just visit or call your local fire department and see how you can help.

Powered by Frankly