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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: Mon Jul 09 18:56:42 PDT 2018
Updated: Mon Jul 09 18:56:43 PDT 2018


Below is the closed-captioning text associated with this video. Since this uses automated speech to text spelling and grammar may not be accurate.

or fire season. today the illinois valley fire department runs on less than 10 volunteer firefighters. there used to be 50. gavlik says, "on a given structure fire we would normally have roughly about 20 firefighters show up to probably end up with about half typically about 4 to 6 firefighters on that given fire." deputy chief gavlik says the drive to become a volunteer firefighter is a thing of the past. gavlik says, "when you ask a different individuals about have you considered you know joining the fire department, it's more and more less of a thought that, oh i never really considered doing that. whereas in the years past it was kind of a given, oh yeah why wouldn't i support the community. so it's a little bit of a different mentality or mind set currently out there." sionan says, "the ivfd has had to get creative with how they fight fires. including if they only have a one person crew. now someone can be inside this fire truck and use this hose with a joy stick inside to drive while putting out that 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. and 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. latva says, "i just really wanted to have a chance to drive one of the big red trucks and i got the chance to drive the big red truck." captain 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." latva says more people should volunteer to help their neighbors and themselves. latva says, "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 newswatch 12 is bringing you important fire
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