Jackson Trail Volunteer Fire Dept
Serving Jackson Trail Fire District Since 1978

3345 Jackson Trail Road  /  Jefferson Georgia / 30549/ 706-367-9557
  From the Chief; David Coholich

          The national trend for volunteers is dropping at an alarming rate. With some studies showing
    Volunteer ism down as much as 25%. There are many factors that have a direct bearing on this
    number.  For example, families with 2 household incomes now, where both work. Also families have
    numerous activities  their children are enrolled in. Not to mention the staffing that started the
    volunteer Department in 1978, 37!!! years ago are moving on. Another factor is the training that you
    need  to be a volunteer is not like it was. Back in the early 70's you would just show up and say "I
    want to be a Volunteer". You were issued gear a pager put through a short class on fire fighting
    and you were then a "Volunteer Firefighter" Fast forward to 2017, A minimum of 240 hours of
    training is needed to be able to enter a burning structure. This all goes back to liability that the
    department shoulders if personnel are not trained to standard. It takes allot of time away from
    family to get the necessary training.

    Add in that the sense of community is being lost, as more subdivisions are added, spreading out
    over the 25 square mile area that is Jackson Trail Fire district. Also the volunteers today, usually do
    not work their primary job in the district they volunteer in. So the days of the boss letting you off to
    run the fire call is coming to an end. There are numerous studies out there on how to get and retain
    Volunteer firefighters and we at JTVFD have tried the following approach with FANTASTIC results.
      The Officers at JTVFD have taken a new approach on recruiting new volunteers and retaining  
    them. The changes over the last 3 years are incredible. With membership at an all time high and
    involvement in the department great. We started with creating a Facebook page and a Web page to
    keep everyone informed.

          Another is pay per call as an incentive to run calls in the middle of the night. 80% of our calls
    are medical in nature. so placing a rescue calendar (To run medical calls) on our web page that
    personnel sign up  for a month in advance. This means these 2 Firefighters/Rescue personnel will
    be available to run all medical calls, along with the ambulance, that go out between 8PM and 5AM.
    This keeps 10 people from showing up on a minor medical call at 2AM. This alone has helped those
    firefighters with families, knowing someone is handling those calls that night, and you just have to
    cover medical calls 3-4 times a month. However, All the members know, this is for medical calls
    only!!!!!!, when the fire call is dispatched "We all go"!!!!! both stations and all volunteers.   

           Also, working on the station, to make it a place that the volunteers want to come up to an
    d be  part of. We added a kitchen and a  back patio that is now covered. Cleaned and straightened
    the entire station so the volunteers take pride in their station.  We are working on a outdoor fire pit
    for a place to come up and enjoy. Added two offices, a shop area for repair of tools and equipment.
    Also another big project taken on by the volunteers was the building of a gym area inside one of
    the bays. They are running workout sessions for firefighters which builds both body and
    brotherhood. All these little things add up to more personnel in an out of the station all day long.
    Which gives us better coverage at any given time. Also we work very closely with our neighboring
    departments West Jackson and Jefferson Fire Dept. knowing at any time when we need help all we
    have to do is call them.  


        We graphed our call volume for the last 4 years and saw that most of our calls are between the
    hours of 8AM through 11PM. So we decided to run a full crew during the day 8AM through 4PM
    when most our volunteers are at their primary job. This crew consists of an 3 firefighters (officer,
    driver and tail board.) Late last year we started allowing one of the crew of 3 to work until 8PM (12
    hour shift) then the rescue team takes over from 8PM until 5AM on all medical calls.  Then on
    January 1st 2017 the board allowed additional staffing of one Firefighter manning the station from
    8pm - 8am. This gives us 24 hour coverage 365 days to greatly decrease response times on calls
    during over night hours.!!!!!!!

          Then on Saturday and Sunday we run 2 per shift 8AM- 4PM and again one may work a full 12
    hour shift getting off at 8PM.

         We do not hire part time employees, we give the volunteers (that are in good standing) the  
    opportunity to sign up to fill these shifts. They send their requests to the Chief, and he fills the
    shifts as needed for that day. You must live in JTVFD district to become a volunteer with the
    department, and you must be an active member to sign up for shifts.

         JTVFD has been very fortunate in the last year to have recruited some new fully trained   
    firefighters. These firefighters bring a lot of knowledge to the department and are a welcome
    addition. This  last year alone we have added 2-Gwinnett firefighters, 3-Dekalb firefighters, 2-
    Barrow firefighters and 1-Sandy Springs firefighter to the volunteer ranks. These along with our
    other seasoned members make up a well trained group of firefighters willing to do what it takes to
    get the job done.  

          David Coholich


MONDAY - FRIDAY, 3- FIREFIGHTERS 8am-4pm            1-FIREFIGHTER 4pm-8am