New Kent County in need of volunteer firefighters

NEW KENT, VA (WWBT) - New Kent says the County is in a lot of trouble. Their community is growing, but help is decreasing.

They hope running ads in the new year will encourage some to make a resolution to help. Officials call it an extreme volunteer shortage and they say without help, it will impact the community.

"Right now in our county, we average probably 6 to 7 hours a day where we do not have fire and EMS coverage because our existing crews are tied up on current calls," said Tommy Hicks, Chief Fire Fighter at New Kent County.

Firefighters say that low staffing can have some serious consequences.

"New Kent's also a big county, so anytime you have a station that is short, and you have to come from a different end of the county, it's 20 miles and could be a half hour before an ambulance gets there," said Bob Greczek, a volunteer EMT.

Hicks told us he's looked in to how much it would cost to man every station around the clock and that it would be a huge financial strain.

"We would have to hire an additional 13 people into the organization. That's basically a 750 thousand dollar commitment," said Hicks.

"And if they're gonna have to pay for it, the taxes are going to go way up," said Tom Doubt, Providence Forge Volunteer EMT. "So volunteers really serve the community and take the strain off of the budget in very tight times."

And these volunteers say the real payoff is in giving back, anyway.

"When you go into a house and you see people that really need help, it gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to help them," said Greczek.

Officials say they're looking for all kinds of help. You don't just have to be a firefighter or an ambulance driver. They say if you're willing to help, there's a role for you.

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