HELENA — Firefighters have lined up their papers and ordered their coffee for a day’s event of chatting with community members. For the Lewis & Clark County Rural Fire Council, this “Frappe With A Firefighter” event helps recruit members during this crucial time.
"Memberships are at an all-time low for rural fire, as far as volunteer departments,” says Dave Sammons, the Council President. “So we try to do things like this that will promote memberships and people interested in their communities."
Along with being the Council President, Sammons is also the East Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief. He says he is fortunate to have 38 members in his department, but also admits utilizing all members to complete the services in the East Valley region.
"It takes all 38 of them to run East Valley, as far as responding to medical calls and fires. There's some departments that are down to five or six members. We always want more, because it takes every one of us to complete the mission,” says Sammons.
The fire council represents 13 volunteer fire districts and they are encouraging anyone possibly interested to visit their local volunteer fire station and observe a training or more. In the end, the East Valley Fire Chief says it is about being a part of the community.
"It's not for the money, it's not for anything like that. It's for somebody walking up and shaking your hand or patting you in the back and saying 'thank you.' When you get called to an event, this is that person's worst day, worst day ever. It's pretty rewarding to feel like you're part of the solution to help them out of it," says Sammons.