At one time GFR had 25 volunteers, but the numbers have dwindled to 11 reliable standbys. In order for the GFR to feel confident in case of a large structure or grass fire, they need at least 15 firefighers and volunteers. And even that's a low number according to Covey.
Ideally, firefighters would prefer volunteers willing to undergo two years of training and pass the State Firelighter and State Marshall Test.
“We're trying to train firefighting volunteers to where they can be issued gear, take care of equipment and be able to trained to the point that go they go into a burning house,” GFR Capt. Greg Speck said.
But with full-time jobs and family responsibilities, volunteers who are willing to take time off to train and fight fires are hard to find.
“We won't throw a new volunteer into a structure fire before they've undergone two years of training,” Speck said.
What the general public may not be aware of is that volunteers can perform vital jobs that don't require much training or require them to get near the fire. For instance, manning what firefighters call an “accountability board” is a fairly simple but a potentially life-saving job.
“The accountability board is a way of tracking and seeing what personnel are where at all times,” Speck said.