2017-10-12 / Front Page

Chief Ivey looking for volunteers to join squad at fire department

Volunteers are needed at the Lincoln Fire Department, as Chief Matt Ivey has issued an invitation to all willing and able bodies to join the fire squad, and extend a helping hand to the community it serves.

The Lincolnton Volunteer Fire Department meets every Monday from 7-9 p.m. for training, and an application may be picked up at that time for those interested in becom­ing a volunteer.

In order to volunteer, individuals must be at least 18 years of age. Volunteers are likewise provided with fire equipment such as turnout gear and breathing apparatuses.

Upon joining, the new personnel will begin intricate training with the rest of the squad, as they are thoroughly taught offensive and de­fensive strategies for fighting fire – interior attack formations and truck pump operations – as well as ladder truck and hand ladder skills.

While rescue and emergency response may be the biggest part of the job, it isn’t the only area tasked to volunteers, as help is often given to other community projects and outreaches. There are many opportunities to share fire safety with others, and volunteers often visit daycares and schools to speak with students, teachers, and parents alike.

Additionally, a trial period will be offered to those wishing to test out the waters, and upon joining the department will help with becom­ing certified to volunteer, which is required by law.

In the United States roughly 70 percent of the fire service is made- up of volunteers. Out of the 1.2 mil­lion firefighters, around 800,000 of them are volunteers, however statis­tics released around the beginning of the year showed that volunteers across the United States were down by about 15 percent.

With this continuing decrease, the ever-present and pressing need for volunteers continues to grow.

Individuals do not have to live within the Lincolnton city limits to volunteer for the city’s fire station. Volunteers can also help the com­munity or district fire station closest to where an individual lives.

Those volunteer stations located throughout Lincoln County are Beulah, Midway, Loco, and Martin’s Crossroads.

While the obvious benefits of volunteering include more help for emergency help and fire fighting, volunteers also help to bring down Insurance Safety Office (ISO) rat­ings.

Dedicated volunteers are also incorporated into the Georgia Fire­fighters Pension Fund, which “pro­vides a supplemental pension benefit to Georgia’s firefighters and their beneficiaries through prudent stew­ardship of the assets held in trust.”

The fund is intended to promote professionalism and accountability throughout the compassionate fire­fighter workforce.

Ivey’s call for aid has come in a timely fashion, as Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) re­cently issued a statewide reminder to Georgians that Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14.

The theme for 2017 is “Every Sec­ond Counts; Plan 2 Ways Out!”

This year, Commissioner Hudgens and fire personnel around the state will spread the word about the im­portance of having working smoke alarms in the home and reinforcing why everyone needs to have and practice an escape plan.

“Most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. while the family is asleep,” Commissioner Hudgens said. “Nine out of 10 fire victims are already dead before the fire department is even called, mainly from smoke and toxic gases. The advance warning of a smoke alarm can mean the difference between life and death.”

So far in 2017, fire has claimed the lives of 84 Georgians, with 74 of those deaths occurring in residential housing. In 61 of the residential housing deaths, fire investigators were unable to determine if a work­ing smoke alarm was present.

Hudgens also urges all residents to have a planned fire escape route from their home, and a designated meeting place to ensure everyone has escaped. Families should prac­tice their escape route, so everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.

Commissioner Hudgens and the NFPA offer the following tips when planning and practicing an escape plan: l Draw a map of the home, including all the doors and win­dows. l Find two ways out of every room. l Make sure doors and windows are not blocked. lChoose an outside meeting place in front of the home. l Practice a planned drill with everyone in the home. l Get outside to the designated meeting place.

“The dense smoke and heat from a house fire can cause people to panic,” Deputy Insurance Commis­sioner Jay Florence said. “Having a pre-planned escape path from every room can significantly increase your chances of survival.”

For more information on planned activities during Fire Prevention Week, contact the local fire depart­ment or call the Fire Safety Educa­tion Division at 404-656-2070.

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