The Washington Township Fire Department is having a membership drive for the month of January to encourage residents to consider becoming a volunteer firefighter. Chief Gene Hanning says joining is easy and the training is free
"We’ll take care of the training for fire, EMS, and hazmat, driving and also the State Fire Marshall has received funding that this year, anyone we train for the firefighter one level, it will be free training."
Chief Hanning estimates out of the nearly 1,200 fire departments across the state, about 90 percent of them are volunteer, making volunteer fire departments essential to the community and public safety. Assistant Fire Chief Adam Siddle explains his calling to become a firefighter came when he was just a kid.
"I went from playing with little tow-away fire trucks as a kid, to something I wanted to do," Siddle explained. "I’ve been here 8 years, I moved up the chain of command and it’s something that I really enjoy and love."
For John Hittle, he says he wanted to give back to the community, and joined when he realized just how easy it was.
"I’d tell them the same thing that I told myself, is you never know until you try," said Hittle. "I mean, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to be a volunteer fireman and it’s not that bad. It does take some time, but it’s very rewarding. So if you’re even considering it, go ahead and give it a try, you’ve got nothing to lose."
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer firefighter with the WTFD, you can call the fire station at 740-452-2221 or go online to www.volunteerfirefighter.org.