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Fire departments in need
 of dedicated volunteers

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By Wesley Robinson
News intern, The Oldham Era

The South Oldham Fire Department wants you.

The department is holding an open house from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 27, at its department at 6310 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood.

Assistant Chief Kevin Parker, who has been a volunteer firefighter for 32 years, said the department is always looking for volunteers to help out with programs and duties. SOFD offers opportunities for people ages 15 and older to help fight fires, assist firefighters or help the department with fundraising and working events, such as the annual Crusade for Children.

“We rely very heavily in Crestwood, and really in Oldham County, on volunteers,” Parker said.
Parker said there are many ways to get involved beyond fighting fires, but if someone wanted to fight a fire they would be doing much of the same things paid firefighters do as the majority of the country’s firefighters are volunteers.

All of Oldham County’s fire departments take volunteers, and some are staffed soley by volunteers, Parker said.
“If community members are looking for a way to volunteer ... and protect their community, this is the ultimate way to do that,” Parker said.

One program the South Oldham Fire Department is looking to enhance is their junior firefighter program, which allows young people 15-17 to volunteer, get experience and then have the hours they accumulated count toward becoming a full volunteer firefighter when they are adults.

Parker said volunteer firefighters train every Monday night for about eight months, and that training is the only real obligation they have.

“That’s how we keep people from getting hurt,” Parker said. “I think all firefighting departments know the importance of that.”

Parker said volunteers can put in as much or as little time as they like, adding that being a volunteer doesn’t restrict people from joining special  task forces, hazardous-material (or “hazmat”) teams, or even becoming an assistant chief.

He said on Sunday night, volunteers were the first responders at a fire on Magnolia Place, because the regular staff had been dispatched to an accident.

“Just because you’re a volunteer, that doesn’t mean that’s all you can do,” Parker said. “Frankly, without volunteers there would have been a delay in us getting there. We really rely heavily on volunteers.”

Visit OldhamCounty.net/Emergency%20Management/FD%20Directory.htm to learn more about your local department.

Email us about this story at: intern@oldhamera.com.