Love County fire departments struggle to find volunteers
LOVE COUNTY, Okla. (KTEN) — The need for volunteer firefighters has increased in 2022, and department chiefs reiterated the necessity to Love County Emergency Management at a monthly meeting earlier this week.
The Criner Hills Volunteer Fire Department said it has gradually lost members since 2020.
Of the 14 departments within Love County, nine of them have five or fewer active firefighters, with only a couple of those people being properly trained for interior structure fires.
"We're an active department, so we're more relied on to supply mutual aid to those areas that need help," said Criner Hills Deputy Chief Michael Campbell. "That puts more of a financial strain on us, people and resources."
As the volunteer departments throughout the county continue to work to get helping hands, potential solutions are considered to help lure a younger demographic.
"[We're] just starting to get some new blood in here, which we're really excited about," said Shady Dale VFD Chief Tim Coyle. "People have to realize that you have to have fire departments, because if you don't, your insurance for your houses is going to skyrocket."
Heading into the new year with the ongoing staffing issue, the solution is simple for volunteer fire departments throughout Love County: Get more people involved.