Fire departments do more than fight fires - they respond to all kinds of community emergencies, and that doesn’t exclude volunteer departments. There are about 8,000 volunteer firefighters in Montana alone, and many departments such as Gore Hill Fire Rescue near Great Falls hope that the number will continue to increase.
Howard Schneider, the Gore Hill Fire Rescue captain, recognizes the need for volunteer firefighters in communities. “Without us, without the volunteers, there would be no fire service,” he said.
He explained, "Volunteer firefighters come from a broad range of backgrounds and commit their time to helping the community. Volunteering gives everyone the chance to make a difference and serve, no matter who it is."
"You know for us older guys, it’s bred into us. We’ve been doing it a long time, there’s a lot of pride in it and pride in our community and we want to make sure our community is safe” explained Schneider. “Community is something that we’re very passionate about and we wanna make sure that they get the best service that we can give to them”
Training is a big part of volunteering, and members can expect to spend up to 10 hours a week on training alone, to make sure that when an emergency does arise, they are ready for it.
“The level of training we get here is so very professional that when you get in those situations where you feel scared, the training kind of takes over and helps you through it,” said Bryce Anderson, a Gore Hill Lieutenant.
Gore Hill Fire Rescue encourages more people to volunteer, promising rewarding service to the community.
“Well, join up. Join up, we need recruits. So if you have some time, and you have some commitment to your community, we’d love to have you come out and check us out and see if it’s something you’d like to do,” said Schneider.