Fire Departments Get Creative with Declining Volunteer Staff

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore.- Across the country, less volunteer firefighters are hitting rural counties hard. With the majority of the country's firefighters working on a volunteer basis, the drop in numbers are forcing departments like the Illinois Valley Fire District to get creative.

Posted: Jul. 9, 2018 2:57 PM
Updated: Jul. 9, 2018 6:59 PM

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore.- Across the country, less volunteer firefighters are hitting rural counties hard. With the majority of the country's firefighters working on a volunteer basis, the drop in numbers are forcing departments like the Illinois Valley Fire District to get creative. 

Today the Illinois Valley Fire District runs on less than 10 volunteer firefighters, but there used to be 50.

Deputy Chief Jeff Gavlik says, "On a given structure fire we would normally have roughly about 20 firefighters show up to fight that fire. In earlier years. And now of those eight that we have will probably end up with about half typically about 4 to 6 firefighters on that given fire."

The department says it's launching new programs to recruit. The firehouse's doors are opening up to high schoolers in exchange for volunteer staffing. Plus they're also chipping in for its volunteers' college degrees. When there isn't enough funding for local fire departments, it relies on volunteers to get the job done.

Captain Joseph Latva is going on his fifth year volunteering. 18 people graduated from his fire academy class and today only 3 are on the roster. 

Latva says, "I mean I live here, why would I want to try and help my neighbors. There's a wealth of lot knowledge here there's a wealth and it's not just around the fire agency, so there's a chance to gain a second family."

If you'd like to volunteer with the Illinois Valley Fire District, you can find the application here.

Article Comments

Medford
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 67°
Brookings
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 73°
Crater Lake
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 67°
Grants Pass
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 70°
Klamath Falls
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 67°
Quiet Weather Much of This Week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Latest Video

Image

Propagating Lavender

Image

Strokes

Image

Texas police: Robbers as young as 11 years old attack elderly man

Image

CAUGHT ON CAM: Woman escapes handcuffs, leaves Wisconsin police station

Image

Texas granny kills 12-foot alligator

Image

Dry Transition into Fall

Image

Local HS Scores & Highlights September 18, 2018

Image

Oregonians Helping with Florence Recovery #2

Image

Oregonians Helping with Florence Recovery

Image

Mental Health Summit Breaks Down Mental Illness Barriers

Community Events