BREAKING NEWS: New Evacuation Warnings Issued for Areas Near Taylor Creek Fire Full Story
SEVERE WX: Air Quality Alert View Alerts

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. 

Scroll for more content...

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.

Related Content

Article Comments

Medford
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 99° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Brookings
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 62°
Grants Pass
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 68°
Klamath Falls
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 62°
Thunderstorms Tonight, Hot & Smoky Tomorrow
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Latest Video

Image

Lake Shastina Golf Tip

Image

Sunday, July 22 Evening Weather

Image

Sunday, July 22 Morning Weather

Image

Marc McMahon Wins at Arena Wars MMA

Image

Garner Complex Updates

Image

Saturday, July 21 Evening Weather

Image

VIDEO FORECAST: Lightning Threat on Sunday

Image

Saturday, July 21 Morning Weather

Image

Local Foster Care Seeks Evacuation Aid

Image

Evacuation Aid For Jackson And Josephine Counties

Community Events