Fire Prevention Week is the perfect time to answer the call to become a volunteer
ROCHELLE – All fire departments within the Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District are asking the community for its help as they are currently in need of more paid on-call volunteers.
The Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District consists of four different fire departments that work and train together as one unit. The departments include Hillcrest, Creston, Flagg Center and Steward. All are in need of volunteers.
Paid on-call volunteers are called in for help anytime the department needs the extra hands, whether full-time employees are on vacation or out on other calls. The Rochelle Fire Department currently has 26 paid on-call volunteers, but some are more active than others. While these volunteers can be called in at any time of the day or night, the department is especially in need of individuals who can be available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“We staff four firefighters a day, essentially enough for one call,” said Rochelle Fire Chief Dave Sawlsville. “But, frequently we will get simultaneous calls, we will get two or three ambulance calls going at the same time. When this happens, we have to use our full-timers and call in our paid on-calls at the same time.”
Anybody who is over the age of 18 and under the age of 65 can sign up to be a paid on-call volunteer, as long as they meet four requirements: Individuals must have no criminal background, a valid driver’s license, an equivalent to a high school diploma and pass a drug screening.
Pay for on-call volunteers starts at a minimum of $12 per hour depending on certification. This pay can go up or even turn into a full-time position if an individual seems to be a good fit for the department. Along with the pay and helping local communities stay safe, being an on-call volunteer also offers valuable experience.
“Once you become a volunteer, we send you through a lot of training,” Sawlsville said. “We will get you licenses in Emergency Medical Training and we will send you through a basic operations firefighters class to get you certified as a firefighter.”
Anyone interested in signing up to become a paid on-call volunteer can get an application from their local fire department on Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. Applications for any department in the Ogle-Lee Fire Protection District can also be acquired by stopping by the Rochelle Fire Department, located at 401 5th Ave. in Rochelle.
“I would like to emphasize that all five stations are really looking hard and could use the help,” Sawlsville said. “If you have an interest and the time, you are going to be helping out your community and your own neighbor.”