Becker County Fire Departments Want You
Carol McCarthy | May 8, 2019 AT 10:10 am
FRAZEE, MN--A recruitment effort for volunteer firefighters in Becker County is underway. Next week, eight of the ten fire departments in Becker County will hold open houses for prospective firefighters. Frazee Fire Chief Joe Nelson says area fire departments are seeing a decline the number of members due to retirements. Nelson says he's down about six firefighters right now. Detroit Lakes Fire Department also with a capacity for 30 members is at 27 members and will possibly be down to 21 with retirements.
"We can staff for 30 members on our department, right now I've got 24 members and we are anticipating more retirements in the near future, " Nelson said. "I'd like to be at 28 [members] if possible." He says lots of Frazee firefighters who live Frazee, work out of town in neighboring communities during the day and he says the more staff they have the quicker that first truck is out the door to respond.
Nelson said because the fire department is a volunteer department he knows not everyone is able to show up when the pager goes off because they are in the middle of something at work or family. He says there are very few requirements and you don't have to know anything about firefighting. There's training prior to becoming a certified volunteer firefighter. You'll learn more than fighting fires. He says many times fire departments are called to assist in other situations. And he says there are a number of department training sessions each month.
Nelson says joining the Frazee Fire Department, becoming a firefighter nine years ago was probably one of the best decisions he's ever made. He says his best friend had joined the department a year ahead of him and that's where he learned about the department. Nelson says there's no better feeling than being able to help people who are in need of help and make them feel safe and better. He adds the fire department crew also has become a second family.
Nelson says the upcoming open houses at the fire stations across Becker County are an informal way for people interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter to meet with station representatives and learn more about what it's all about. He invites anyone 18 and older in Becker County to go to their local fire station open house Monday, May 13th, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. The eight departments holding open house events are Lake Park, Audubon, Frazee, Callaway, Wolf Lake, Carsonville, Elbow-Tulaby Lakes and Detroit Lakes.