Helping in tough economic times

By Beth Danziger - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Volunteer fire fighting in Chesterfield county may be changing. The department needs their help in these tough economic times.

When it comes to brush fires and major disasters in Chesterfield Volunteer fire fighters are usually there helping as additional support. Their role is even more important to the county now that the department is operating on a lower budget.

"We aren't able to hire new career staff to open new fire stations in the foreseeable future and we are going to be reliant on the volunteer fire fighters," said Chesterfield Fire Department Chief Edward Senter.

Thursday morning Chief Senter spoke to some of those volunteers and residents about their importance and how the department plans to equip them in the future when it comes to trucks and training. Right now there are two stations, one in Enon and another called Company 10.

The chief also went over how he sees the volunteer program changing in a couple of years.

"We will always have the door open for volunteers but you will see more and more career staff come on line," said Senter.

The chief says that's because the county expects calls for service to increase as well as training requirements. Those demands could be difficult for those with families and other careers. That could mean less available volunteers.

So down the road he believes it may just become a stepping stone to joining the department.

"My roots are in volunteer fire fighting. I started at age 15 and the training got there and the mentorship that I received help me realize that it was that I wanted to do," Senter said.

The county will be holding another meeting about volunteer fire fighting next Tuesday May 26. If you would like to attend it be at the Enon volunteer fire department. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

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