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By Emily Bontrager
The Kahoka Fire Department and the Clark County Fire Department are looking for volunteer firefighters to help serve the community.
Currently, the fire department has around 12 volunteer firefighters, but additional volunteers are needed to respond to emergencies.
Fire Chief Mick Wood, 71, is from Kahoka, Missouri and he is hoping that at least six more volunteers will join the fire department.
According to Chief Wood, there is a shortage of volunteer firefighters in all of the fire departments in the county and it is vital that more people volunteer.
Several of the current Kahoka and Clark County firefighters are 70 years old or older, and newer, younger volunteers are needed.
“I’d really like to see some younger people get interested in it because we need that younger generation to come and help us out,” Chief Wood said.
According to Chief Wood, the volunteers need to be at least 16 years old, physically able to do some lifting, and be mobile. Volunteers do not need to live in Clark County, but it is more convenient if they do, so they can respond to emergencies quickly.
To prepare new volunteers for a fire or emergency, the Kahoka and Clark County Fire Departments will have different types of training available. These include in-house, outside, and online training.
One of the training sessions that the department teaches will focus on how a fireman enters a building and the things they need to look for when they are in the building.
“They have to be aware of what is going on in there. As the chief, and the people outside, we have to know what is going on in there because we are not going to send someone into a situation where we know that it’s a bad situation and they may have problems,” Chief Wood said.
According to Chief Wood, there are other jobs that volunteers can help with outside of a fire scene.
“There are lots of other jobs, like hooking up our equipment to hydrants or in the county we use a big tank that we’ll dump water in and that has to be set up as we get to a fire scene, so there are lots of other jobs that people can help us with,” Chief Wood stated.
Along with the training, the fire department provides all of the fire equipment for the volunteers. As a volunteer for the fire department, volunteers will respond to house fires, grass fires, gas leaks, accidents, and other emergencies as needed.
“It’s a rewarding service that they can do for the community, because when we get to somebody’s home or something, they are in trouble and we have to try and mitigate that as much as we can and as quickly as we can,” Chief Wood stated.
One of the important things that Chief Wood wants everyone to know is that you can report a fire by calling 911, but make sure you give a name, address, and as much of a detailed description of the property location as you can. This makes it easier for the fire department to locate the scene of a fire or accident as quickly as possible.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter and helping the community, you can fill out an application. To get an application or find out more information, you can contact Fire Chief Mick Wood at 660-341-0436, email the fire department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the fire station on a meeting night.
These meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. at the fire station, which is located at 282 West Exchange St. in Kahoka.