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Growing Call Volume, Lack of Volunteers Fueling Cumberland Fire Need

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Growing Call Volume, Lack of Volunteers Fueling Cumberland Fire Need

The Cumberland County Fire Department is urgently searching for volunteer firefighters.

Captain and Training Officer Jeremy Comer said the department will exceed 1,600 calls this year, some 500 more than in years past. Comer said the department only has ten full-time firefighters. Comer said the size of the county and an increase in demand has left the department needing extra help.

“We have a large response area, we’re having a lot of high volume of calls, and just limited staffing as far as full-time firefighters, so those additional volunteers, they’re very important to us to provide that staffing and manpower,” Comer said.

Comer said the department usually has some 100 volunteers, but many do not have much time outside of their jobs and obligations to respond to calls. If accepted, they will begin the training courses which include an agility test, online firefighter training, and finally, Live Fire Training at the Tennessee Fire and Codes Enforcement Academy.

Cumberland County residents can pick up an application at the main station, and begin the training process.

“We’re an all-hazards fire department,” Comer said. “We cover all types of fires whether it be structures, wildlands, we also cover automobile accidents, we do hazardous material response, we do rope rescue, we provide a lot of resources to surrounding counties and communities.”

Comer said the wide variety of services the department provides has contributed to the high number of calls they get. He said inactive volunteers do not do the department much good.

“People’s time is valuable and unfortunately, I don’t know if it’s just the way things are today, lifestyles and stuff, but it seems like people don’t have as much time to volunteer to us,” Comer said.

Comey said applicants will be sent to the district station closest to their residence and interviewed.

“We have three shifts, so that’s nine guys that work the shifts, and then the chief is the 10th guy,” Comer said. “So, we rely heavily on volunteers. The bulk of the department is volunteers with the 16 stations.”


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