East Texas fire stations sound alarm of need for more volunteers

Fire

VAN ZANDT COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — If there’s a fire in your area and you dial 911 and no one responds, what do you do?

South Van Zandt County Fire Chief Gregg Beverly oversees four fire stations in the county. He says the 40 total of volunteers he has are not enough to cover the area.

“One station right now only has two members in it,” Beverly says.

He said at least 25 firefighters might be used to fight a single large fire.

“We can manage it (the fire) with 15 or 20. Sometimes we do it with eight,” says Beverly.

Lack of volunteer firefighters isn’t just happening in East Texas. A survey conducted by the National Fire Protection Association found that nearly 70% of all firefighters are volunteers.

Not having enough people to fight a fire presents challenges, says Bryan Sherwood, volunteer firefighter. “You know in the back of your mind, I’m going to have limited personnel.”

Chief Beverly says the best way to get more volunteers to his fire station is using social media to reach out to youth.

“One of things that’s helped us is the social media platform. Getting information out there, getting followers on our Facebook page you know,” Beverly says.

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