Volunteers needed for Tama County fire departments - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Volunteers needed for Tama County fire departments

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GLADBROOK (KWWL) -

Most of eastern Iowa's fire departments and ambulance services are based on volunteers, with friends and neighbors answering the call when disaster strikes.

As small towns in eastern Iowa continue to get smaller it's getting even tougher to find new fire fighters. That's why in Tama County they're putting out the word trying to get new recruits.

Gladbrook Fire Chief, Matt Koester, and Garwin Fire Chief, Rick Raymond, have a common problem, they're both running out of volunteers.

"The age of our department is kind of getting up in years. It would be nice to have some younger people get on because when you start putting al the gear on, the air pack, they put a toll on you when you get into a disaster," said Raymond.

These dedicated volunteers train at the same level as paid fire fighters in bigger cities and do the same job, but all this training takes time.

"With all the mandates the states handing down it makes it just the more difficult and the younger people don't seem to want to put in that type of commitment," said Raymond.

The most recent example of these volunteers going above and beyond was during the severe weather that rolled through eastern Iowa in mid-July.

"Fire fighters did everything from evacuating people because of gas leaks to hazmat response to medical calls," said Ryan Currens, Director of Tama County Emergency Management.

Koester and Raymond admit that if more people don't volunteer it could hurt response time.

If you would like to volunteer you can contact your local fire chief or contact Tama County Emergency Management at 641-484-6261.

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