JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (KSNT) – The Geary County Fire Department is in need of more volunteers. The department is currently down 15 to 20 volunteer firefighters.
Deputies with the Geary County Sheriff’s Office used to fight fires alongside the volunteers. That is no longer the case due to concerns about training and safety.
Geary County Fire Chief Garry Berges tells KSNT News this will mean longer response times if those spots are not filled.
“Usually there was a deputy within two to three miles of one of our main stations, so they could grab our first out trucks and be on the road in a good amount of time,” Berges said. “It’s going to take a little longer now.”
Volunteers work out of nine fire stations across Geary County. The department fields around 140 calls each year, which means volunteers go out around once or twice a month.
There is obviously training involved with becoming a volunteer firefighter, but Berges says volunteers can choose how much training they want to take on.
“If they just want to come out and assist with grass fires we’ll train them to that,” said Berges. “If they want to get the further training and go in to burning buildings, once they are properly trained with air packs and stuff, we’ll train them to that level.”
People interested in becoming volunteers are asked to go to the Geary County Emergency Management Office at 236 E. 8th St. in Junction City to fill out applications.