From the Chief; David Coholich
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 4 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 1-2 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 and 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.
JACKSON TRAIL VOLUNTEER FD STAFFING AS OF 1/1/2018
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.)
3 years ago 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
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.
|SHIFTS AS OF JANUARY 1ST 2018 24 HOUR COVERAGE
MONDAY - FRIDAY, 3- FIREFIGHTERS 8am-4pm 1-FIREFIGHTER 4pm-8am
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, 2-FIREFIGHTERS 8AM-4PM 1-FIREFIGHTER 4pm-8am
Jackson Trail Volunteer | est.1978
3345 Jackson Trail Road / Jefferson Georgia / 30549/ 706-367-9557