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Calling for new on-call firefighters



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December 21, 2011 - Ever feel the siren's call to action, fighting fires and rescuing people from injury or even death?

If so, Independence Township Fire Department wants to talk to you about joining them as an on-call firefighter.

According to Captain Gary Sharp, on-call firefighters go through the same academy and training as full-timers.

"The difference is the career firefighters are assigned to the station for 24-hour shifts to respond," Sharp said. "The on-call firefighters are at home or at work and we give them a pager. When there is a fire or a car accident where we need extra firefighters their pager will go off and they'll respond from home to either the emergency or to the fire station."

Sharp noted on-call firefighters have declined nationally as families have gotten busier and people have less time to volunteer.

"We're hoping there are some people in the community who have a desire and the time to commit to it," he said. "It's definitely an important job and we're going to need somebody who's willing to do it."

Sharp said there are many times they have small emergencies where they have just enough full-time guys to do handle the situation, but it's the "bigger, less frequent" emergencies such as serious car accidents, structural fires and brush fires where they need more guys.

"We're fortunate in the community that we don't have as many of those car accidents and fires," he said. "That allows us not to have to pay somebody around the clock, but still have people respond when needed."

Requirements include 18 years of age, resident of Independence Township or the City of the Village of Clarkston, birth certificate or social security card, driver's license and good driving record, no criminal history, good physical and medical condition, and must pass a drug test.

An informational meeting will be held Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. at Independence Fire Department Headquarters at 6500 Citation Drive.

Sharp said many of the guys who have stayed as on-call firefighters have found it rewarding. Most of their full-time and part-time guys came from the on-call ranks. Some decided to change careers and pursue firefighting as a full-time career, while others decided to keep their current job, but still do on-call basis.

"We have guys from all walks of life serving as on-call firefighters," he said. "We're looking for both people who are aspiring firefighters and want to get their foot in the door as well as people who have an established career they're not looking to change, but want to find a way to help their community that's both exciting and rewarding."

To RSVP for the informational meeting or for more information, e-mail Captain Gary Sharp at gsharp@independencefire.us, e-mail Captain Mitch Petterson at mpetterson@Independencefire.us, or call 248-625-1924

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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