More Firefighters Needed To Man Volunteer Departments
GRADY COUNTY, Oklahoma - Large donations of water and Gatorade helped hundreds of Oklahoma volunteer firefighters battle the recent wildfires, but they say what they really need more of is more firefighters.
Grady County Volunteer Fire Chief Perry Wenzel says the county's 12 fire stations can handle as many as 300 firefighters, but he says that number right now is stuck at 230.
"It used to be it wasn't that big of a deal, we had people volunteering their time all the time," he said.
Wenzel says one reason for the downturn is employers these days are much less willing to let volunteer firefighters off to go fight fires.
He says to be a volunteer firefighter, you need a minimum of 140 hours of classroom instruction and training.