Posted: Aug 31, 2013 11:55 PM by Keele Smith - MTN News
After losing more than a dozen volunteers earlier this year, the Bridger Canyon Rural Fire Department is almost working at full speed again. The new crew is not only moving forward, but is also getting ready for their biggest fundraiser of the year.
"It's been good," Ted Mather, a volunteer firefighter, said. "You know, we've been going a lot of training, pretty much twice a week."
Mather joined the Bridger Canyon Rural Fire Department in June.
He is one of many volunteers helping clean the station for the annual pancake breakfast next week.
"They're bright, they've been fast learners and I can't say anything bad about them," Acting Fire Chief Dennis Guentzel, said. "They've been really terrific; stepped up."
Since 15 people left in May, the Bridger Canyon Rural Fire Department has recruited 16 new volunteers.
They now have 22 volunteers on the roster and the new recruits are making excellent progress.
"We're pretty pleased overall, considering summer, which has always been a harder time to recruit - we think it's gone quite well," Mike Conn, Training Officer, said.
The new firefighters are putting in long hours of training two times a week for three hours each and they're already making a difference.
"Every call that we have had to the department since the problems earlier this year, has been adequately or overly staffed," Conn said.
The new volunteers are learning a lot from the pros.
Mather said, "It's excellent because they've been doing this for so long, they can really help you understand what the various calls will be like, what the types of situations we'll run into."
The veterans, in turn, said they are pleased with the recruits so far.
"We're striving to get people as much as we can, from within the community - that'll stay with us, that won't quit us..." Guentzel said. "...that are going to show some dedication to this canyon, to the Bridger Canyon community."
Although the department is close to the same size it was before the turnover, they can always use more volunteers.
Everyone is invited to come out to the pancake breakfast next Saturday, September 7th.