How has the NVFC helped you as a volunteer?
I've taken multiple courses through the NVFC's Virtual Classroom, done live trainings, and have been involved with Volunteer Voices. NVFC has been a great place to bounce ideas off others and learn from each other.
What is one of the biggest challenges that your department faces? How are you working to overcome it?
Equipment and funding. It is a common theme with a lot of volunteer departments. I knew we had needs so I decided to learn how to write grants. I figured it was a 50/50 chance. They were either going to say yes or no. If they said no we wouldn't be any worse off, and if they said yes we get to improve. I have been able to get several grants for us, and our next purchase will be new SCBAs. We are excited and grateful to receive them and look forward to getting to put them to work.
What is one thing your fellow volunteers don't know about you?
I can sing. I went to college on a vocal music scholarship. I also swear I am not an animal person, but I am completely lying to myself. I would adopt every stray if I could.
Do you enjoy watching movies or television shows about firefighters?
I can't watch most of them. I see the inside of the facepiece removed so we can see actors' faces while they talk, or they are going into a high rise fire without their Nomex® on, or putting an ET tube in as a chest tube with an Ambu bag to catch blood. My mind just screams, "That's not how that works! That's not how any of that works!"
What advice would you give new volunteers?
Train! Train! Train! Go to as many trainings as you can. You will always learn something. The fire service is a lifelong learning experience. The more you are able to train and practice your skills, the better prepared you will be to respond to those in need when we are called. Also, don't forget your family. They give up a lot so that you can volunteer and respond at a moment's notice. Give them the time and attention they need. It can be a hard balance: family/home life and the fire service.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I believe there is a place for everyone in the fire service. Our experiences and skills are invaluable to helping others within our department and our communities. We may not all be meant to respond to calls, but can fundraise, help with documentation or maintenance, provide food and drinks during long calls, etc. We can all work together for the good of our communities.