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Paid-on-call firefighters needed in Addison

June 01, 2011 - Addison Township Fire Chief Jerry Morawski is looking for a few good men.

Thanks to the economy, the number of paid-on-call firefighters for the Addison Township Fire Department has declined to the point where Morawski feels like he needs to take action into his own hands.

"There are 27 of us right now...but we don't see any applications coming right now," Morawski said.

So instead of being reactive, Morawski is being proactive and putting the word out that the fire department is looking for more paid-on-call firefighters. "I want to be proactive and get people in and trained," he said.

He hopes some ads in local newspapers, posting the need for volunteers on the Fire Departments new website, and posting the information throughout the township will get the applications flowing.

Currently the township fire department has 27 employees consisting of five full-time employees, one part-time paramedic and 21 paid-on-call, who get paid per call.

Over the past few months, the township has lost four paid-on-call firefighters who found full-time employment elsewhere. Besides seeing people relocate for work, Morawski has also noticed the volunteer firefighters run-call times are down.

He said it basically boils down to one thing: his volunteers are doing more at their full-time jobs in order to support their families.

"People just don't have the time right now. They are concerned about maintaining their job or career versus having extra time to donate," Morawski said. "I think everyone is just a little bit nervous because of the economy, making sure they have taken care of their family and themselves before they donate and dedicate time to something else."

Morawski noted another problem the fire department has is their volunteers are usually just starting out their career.

"We get a younger crowd and they are still living with their parents, and once they...get their training and a few years go by and they dedicate their time here, they get married and move off or their lives show them a different path," Morawski said.

Morawski said the optimum number for the fire department would be around 30 employees because there is always someone new and someone going through training.

If interested, contact Chief Morawski at (248) 628-5600.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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