This weekend I sat with volunteer firefighters at a church breakfast and rummage sale, saw a few at the tractor show and ate with a few at a local barbeque. These are dedicated men and women that have a passion for their fire departments. After they work their regular job, they take on one more. I’m not sure how this devotion and commitment takes hold of these volunteers, but I’ve seen it in the young and old. In this age of technology with so many things taking the attention of our youth, how do we continue this legacy of volunteers and how do we keep the volunteers we have?
In this issue, the question is asked: What are today’s fire service leaders to do to recruit and retain the members needed to do the job? Ron Cheves, Fire Chief of the Idlewild Volunteer Fire Department, says it first takes someone with a desire to do something important for his community; someone with courage and dedication, who isn’t afraid of hard work, and would be willing to take on the challenges of a difficult job. Read his suggestions for recruiting and retaining on page 23.
Wesley Hutchins writes on the importance of communications in his article on page 20. Hutchins is the Chief of Walkertown Volunteer Fire Department and asks, “What is the current state of your fire communications?” This is a big concern for volunteer departments, as the challenge of response will never change.
We welcome Jerry Brant as he gives grant writing advice for the volunteer departments. As funding decreased in 2010, these programs are more competitive than ever. Brant has several options and some good advice, page 25.
This issue of Carolina Fire Rescue EMS Journal welcomes an in-depth article from Carolinas HealthCare System on “Planning for Emergency Response.” Carolinas HealthCare conducts an annual hazard vulnerability analysis to identify areas of vulnerability related to injury, potential hazards, physical damage and environmental impact. They have disaster drills, both tabletop and with mock patients and some are coordinated with other agencies to test internal readiness and capabilities.
Our fall issue is our hazmat cover and I want to thank Teddy Brown for his painting for us to use. If you were at the South Atlantic Expo in Raleigh this year, you may have had an opportunity to speak with Brown and see his work.
David Greene gives us a very interesting article on combustible metals and the importance of pre-planning high risk sites in your jurisdiction and knowing when to wear full PPE, including SCBA. Glenn Clapp explains in his article the importance of conducting hazmat research during the initial phases of an incident. And Jason Krusen warns us about “A New Type of Hazmat Incident.”
As always, we appreciate any feedback, suggestions or information concerning your fire department. Please visit our Web site if you’d like to comment on any of the articles in this issue. We look forward to hearing from you. www.carolinafirejournal.com