Public safety day set to recruit new volunteer firefighters

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 6, 2018

A Public Safety Day will be held to give the public a chance to meet local first responders and hear demonstrations from agencies across the state about safety and search and rescue.

Henleyfield Volunteer Fire Department Lieutenant John Odle, who is organizing the event, said it will take place Sept. 22 at the Pearl River County Fairgrounds beginning at 10 a.m. Representatives from several agencies such as the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, American Red Cross, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Pearl River County Joint Search and Rescue, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department and several others will be at the event giving demonstrations, Odle said. The event is free to attend.

Odle said there will be things for the entire family to do. Chidren can get an up close look at fire trucks, police cars and witness what a vehicle looks like in a rollover simulator, a ride that simulates a crash at 15 miles per hour to convince people to wear their seatbelts and bounce houses. There will even be a firefighter dodge ball tournament beginning at 9 a.m.

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“We want the public to come out and meet us, because we want to meet them as well,” Odle said.

While the event focuses on public education, Odle said the goal is to find new recruits for local volunteer fire departments. He said volunteer numbers have been low across the county, so he hopes the event will change that. Odle said many people don’t realize that about 70 percent of the fire departments across the nation rely on volunteers to operate.

Odle said anyone who wants to volunteer can do so afternoons or on the weekends that suits their schedule. Odle said the fire departments will provide training, so volunteers don’t have to have any prior experience.

Odle said if anyone is interested in volunteering, they should call Pearl River County Fire Coordinator Danny Manley at 601-795-3058 for more information and to be put into contact with the proper district fire chief.