Many answering the call to join a local fire department

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 29, 2017

When an emergency arises, whether it’s a vehicle accident, a house fire or any other type of incident, firefighters will always be one of the first to respond to the emergency.

What many people might not know is that many firefighters in Pearl River County are volunteers, which means they don’t receive a paycheck for their services.

While volunteer firefighters might not receive a paycheck, they do receive a small compensation in a reduction on one vehicle tag within Pearl River County.

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Pine Grove Volunteer Chief Steve Seal said he decided to become a volunteer firefighter to provide a needed service to the community. He said that more than 80 percent of firefighters in this country are volunteers.

Becoming a volunteer at a fire department doesn’t exactly mean that they will be fighting fires all the time, Pearl River County Fire Marshall Albert Lee said.

“Our volunteer positions range from answering medical calls, filling out paperwork and also some photography work,” Lee said.

Lee said that becoming a volunteer firefighter helps people learn the basics of the trade and receive the proper training to become a full-time firefighter, if they choose to make it a career.

“We have trained many firefighters that have gone on to receive full-time jobs as a firefighter at either the fire department in Picayune or Poplarville,” Lee said.

In order to become a volunteer firefighter, Lee said an applicant has to have a high school diploma or GED and must be 18 or older. Applicants must also pass a physical test in order to show they are able to meet the physical requirements of the job.

The hours of a volunteer firefighter vary but the ability to help the community when it is most needed goes a long way, Lee said.

For more information about becoming a volunteer firefighter in Pearl River County, contact Lee at (601) 795-3058.