TEMPLE — Area volunteer firefighters spend a lot of unpaid hours outside their regular jobs on fire and EMS calls, based on information gathered from several area departments.
Volunteers are called to respond to many different types of situations — from raging fires to accidents, for patient lift assists to blocking traffic or from extrications to emergency medical services calls, said Hal Pagel, Moffat Volunteer Fire Department fire chief.
Shane Berrier, Salado Volunteer Fire Department fire chief, had no estimate for how many hours the volunteers spent in the field in 2013, but he did know that Salado set a new record for calls. The department responded to 766 calls in 2013 compared to 692 in 2012.
The previous record was in 2008 when the department received 745 calls, Berrier said.
The number of calls for emergency medical services went up by almost 100 in 2013, but accidents — even with the construction for the Interstate 35 expansion — were up only one call over 2012’s figures, Berrier said.
The Little River-Academy department responded to 580 calls in 2013 and put in an average of 54 hours per week on fire department business and calls from October 2012 to October 2013, Tanya Borders said.
And they spent 130 more hours on EMS calls than they did on fire calls, according to figures they are required to submit yearly to the Texas Municipal League.
Gatesville Fire Department has 32 volunteer firefighters but doesn’t handle EMS calls, Fire Chief Billy Vaden said. He said the department responded to about 535 calls in 2013 and averaged about 102 hours per week working on fire department business.
Pagel said Moffat firefighters went to 326 calls in 2013. Of those, 56 were fire calls and 53 were calls for non-fire situations, such as extrications, lift assists or even to block traffic.
Far exceeding the other calls were the 217 EMS-related calls Moffat recorded.
Pagel said the number of calls from 2013 is comparable to previous years.
Moffat’s 17 volunteers put in about 3,000 man hours on fires and about 4,500 hours on EMS calls — averaging more than 140 hours per week, Pagel said.