Volunteers needed in Coyle area to help Quilcene Fire Rescue

Posted 12/9/14

Jefferson County Fire District 2 (Quilcene Fire Rescue) is seeking volunteers, particularly in the rural Coyle area.

"We are desperately understaffed at our local volunteer fire and emergency …

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Volunteers needed in Coyle area to help Quilcene Fire Rescue

Posted

Jefferson County Fire District 2 (Quilcene Fire Rescue) is seeking volunteers, particularly in the rural Coyle area.

"We are desperately understaffed at our local volunteer fire and emergency services station in Coyle," said Norm Johnson in a community-wide email sent on Nov. 26. "Currently we have only one person living in Coyle who can drive the truck or aid car and fight fires, but no emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to give immediate aid."

The Quilcene Fire Station is staffed 24/7, but it could take personnel up to 30 minutes to reach Coyle residents in an emergency, Johnson noted, and that could mean the difference between life and death, or between saving a home or having it burn to the ground.

Volunteers are sought to rebuild a local volunteer fire and aid service in the Coyle community.

Volunteers must be age 18 or older and able to do the physical work of lifting and carrying patients, hoses, ladders and tools.

Quilcene Fire Rescue is seeking two EMTs and from two to four others to train as firefighters, drivers or support personnel to fully staff the Coyle station.

Equipment in Coyle includes: Engine 22 (larger engine for structure fires), Brush Truck 22 (smaller engine for brushfires and able to enter less accessible driveways) and Aid Car 22 (ambulance).

Typical calls on the Toandos Peninsula include: smoke investigations, downed lines, smoke coming from a home, overturned boats, sickness/injuries in the home and traffic collisions. In addition to responding to calls, volunteers maintain the Coyle station, and clean and repair equipment. The rate of calls for the Coyle station has been around 50 per year, or once or twice a week on the average, according to Johnson.

There are various levels of training and certification that can be attained.

All new volunteers start with a 24-hour “fundamentals” class in basic firefighting instruction. This class provides the basic knowledge to keep the volunteers safe.

To drive the aid cars and/or the fire engines, an eight-hour emergency vehicle incident prevention (EVIP) class is required. A driving test concludes this course.

EMT classes are held at the new Station 11 in Chimacum. The next class starts the first week of January and concludes at the end of March. Classes are 6-9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

There is also some ambulance ride time, hospital time and at-home study time. The typical student spends about six hours of study time at home each week. After the class concludes, the student then is required to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians test. This class normally costs $750, but at this time, the department is willing to pay tuition for Coyle residents to become volunteers.

After becoming a volunteer, a firefighter is expected to attend the Tuesday-evening drills, which are usually conducted at Quilcene Station 21. Drills take place 6:30-9 p.m. the first, second and third Tuesdays of the month.

"Volunteer firefighters get the same training that full-time members get," said Johnson. "No cutting corners!"

Interior qualified firefighters do regular training with the other Jefferson County fire districts.

Drivers need an annual two- to four-hour refresher class. EMTs need 30 hours a year of continuing education either by attending EMS drills or working through a computer training service.

Members are paid a stipend for their participation, based on a point system that includes training sessions, responding to calls, and other fire department events. These points are worth about $8-$9 each and are paid quarterly.

The stipend is intended to reimburse volunteers for expenses. Station volunteers receive a per diem.

"There is no better way of getting to know your neighbors," said Johnson. "Fire stations often become the heart of a small community like ours ... it is the center of communications, not just about emergency situations, but about everything going on in our community that affects our daily lives. You can be a part of that network." 

For more information, contact Quilcene Fire Rescue Chief Larry Karp at

chief@qvfd.org, 360-765-3333 or 360-774-3024.

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