‘Be Somebody’ who helps others in your communityRural fire and Emergency Medical Services departments take to the roads Friday as part of the “BE SOMEBODY” campaign.
Rural fire and Emergency Medical Services departments take to the roads Friday as part of the “BE SOMEBODY” campaign.
The annual event recruits new members for volunteer fire departments in Douglas, Ashland and Bayfield counties. It also recognizes the service these volunteers provide their neighbors.
The campaign runs 2:30-6 p.m. today in Brule.
Personnel from more than 30 departments arrive between 2 and 3 p.m. to answer questions and show apparatus. Also scheduled is an on-site three-hour remote broadcast with WNXR-FM 107.3 featuring their “Q-Ball” show personality.
Supporting state agencies and local dignitaries are expected to attend, giving citizens a chance to talk to them.
At 4 p.m. the Fire Department of the Year award is presented to a Douglas County fire department for outstanding achievements accomplished over the last year.
In addition an award will be given to a retiring member of the Brule Fire Department for more than 50 years of service with the department.
After the kick off and through Friday evening, volunteer departments and organizations will stage individually in their northwestern Wisconsin communities. Departments will station themselves in higher traffic areas to emphasize their 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week commitment to provide emergency services. Major state and county highways will have fire and ambulance department volunteers, emergency vehicles and signs saying “BE SOMEBODY” and “HELP WANTED.”
Recruitment and retention is the number one challenge for volunteer emergency service organizations. The need is not only for firefighters, rescue personnel and EMS responders, but also for volunteers to fill roles such as fire hall and vehicle maintenance, secretary, treasurer, fire inspections and food preparation during emergencies.
Communities have long relied on the commitment and dedication of volunteers to provide quality, professional, cost effective emergency service for citizens in times of need. A 2004 study released by the National Volunteer Fire Council documented that each fire or EMS volunteer saves their community an average of $45,000 per year.
The many benefits of being an emergency response volunteer include helping neighbors, becoming involved in the community, sharing in department camaraderie, learning career-building skills and participating in service award/retirement programs. Community members are encouraged to stop and discuss these opportunities with members during this event.
The BE SOMEBODY phone line has been established to aid those interested in becoming emergency services volunteers. Call 888-926-1676 and leave a message indicating the service of interest. The message will be forwarded to the appropriate department chief or director who will return the call and answer questions.