Marion County Fire District #1 is appealing to community members to volunteer and help respond to emergency calls. A failed local option levy in the November election reduced revenue by almost 30 percent (or $2.4 million). Cuts included laying off 12 full-time firefighter/paramedics.

The fire district is starting a new recruit academy this spring. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on January 8, 2021. More information, including an application, can be found on the fire district’s website at www.mcfd1.com/volunteer.

“Call volumes are climbing and response times continue to increase,” said Fire Chief Kyle McMann. “We simply do not have the required number of people to respond. We are concerned for the safety of our community and emergency personnel who are responding to calls.”

For example, national standards require a minimum of 14 firefighters to safely fight a structure fire. The fire district is operating with eight emergency personnel per day.

In addition to losing revenue due to the local option levy failing, the fire district was turned down for two grants to provide temporary staffing. That’s why recruiting volunteers now is so important.

Volunteers can serve in three different position types. There are Firefighters, EMTs and Tender Operators. Each position has different activity level options available. Firefighter and EMT positions are available to those who are already Oregon accredited/licensed or qualify for reciprocity. The fire district offers a Firefighter and Tender Operator academy for those who need to complete entry-level training.

Home Responders are the traditional volunteer role. Home Responders live within a limited driving distance of a designated volunteer response station. Depending on the call activity level for the assigned station and availability of the Home Responder Firefighter, one or two 12-hour shifts are added monthly to ensure they continue to get on scene of major calls to use their skills. Firefighter and Tender Operator positions are available.

The second activity level option is focused toward students. Applicants must have either completed the NFPA Firefighter 1 coursework, or possess a National Registry EMT (or higher) certification with the ability to acquire Oregon reciprocity within 90 days of appointment. Individuals also qualify if they are currently enrolled in a fire science program like the one offered by Chemeketa Community College.

A final activity option is the Tour of Duty position created to accommodate individuals who wished to give of their time to MCFD#1 but do not live within a limited driving distance to a designated volunteer response station. This position allows the flexibility to schedule convenient times to be on duty and available to respond to emergency calls.

More information about the Fire District can be found at www.mcfd1.com. Chief McMann also is available to answer questions at (503) 588-6535 or kylem@mcfd1.com.