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Fairview Township
Located in Minnesota's Recreational Paradise

Being a volunteer firefighter takes commitment and courage
When you speak to somebody that has been affected by an emergency to which Pillager Area Fire and Rescue has responded, it is not easy to put a dollar amount on the service provided. As a society we often are trying to quantify services by assigning a dollar value. The problem is, when it is your emergency that the department is responding to, the value of the service provided suddenly increases and dollar signs tend to lose their meaning.

This past year Pillager Area Fire and Rescue put forth more than 5,000 personnel hours towards responding to calls, training, and community events. This does not include administrative hours that were put into the organization of the department's training, A 2007 study by Independentsector.org assigns a value of $20.25 per volunteer hour. This translates into over $101,000.00 of services provided to the area free of cost. This makes a nice argument that could be used to validate expenditures in running a fire department, but not in this case.

The reality is the residents of the Pillager area are fortunate to have individuals who serve as volunteer firefighters and medical first responders. When an emergency arises, it is a small group of dedicated individuals who respond. Regardless of how many emergency calls there are, these individuals consistently train to keep their skills sharp. This is truly the best demonstration of the commitment of a volunteer responder. To spend countless hours training for an event that may or may not happen while they are around, is a testatment of the dedication these individuals have for our community. Attempting to simplify this by assigning a dollar value will lead to a misunderstanding of the real value.

The emergency service is only as strong as the ability of the volunteers to respond. This is a factor that sets volunteer emergency personnel apart from other organizations. Imagine that you serve for an organization, but the time that you will be needed to serve is unknown. Members must wear a pager that will notify them and they must be ready to take appropriate actions within minutes. No matter the time of the day, in a deep sleep, child's birthday party, or a holiday dinner and still be expected to respond. This might give a glimpse of what it is like to wear a pager for an emergency service.

The impact on providing a volunteer service goes far beyond the individual. To be an effective volunteer, the member needs to have an extremely supportive and understanding family. Family members are always impacted when the responder leaves for an emergency call. Someone is always left to keep the family going and this can be a very difficult position. Employers are also impacted when supporting a volunteer responder. The Pillager area is fortunate to have many great employers who recognize the value of releasing a vounteer from work to respond to an emergency. Some of our responders are self-employed, so when they respond they know that they are effectively closing their business while on a call. Great sacrifices are made by all to provide emergency services. The impact of an emergency is huge and has a ripple effect on many people beyond the actual responder.

At this point, the thought of joining a volunteer emergency service might not sound very appealing. Before it is discounted as something that "someone else should do," look at the benefits. When the pager does go off due to an emergency, somebody is having a bad day and you have the oppportunity to try to make it better. The person requesting the assistance doesn't have a choice as to who will come to their aid. They dialed 911 and will get the local emergency responders. This is a huge responsibility and with it can come great rewards. To leave this responsibility for "someone else" to do of course is the easiest option, but this would leave us without a functional timely response to an emergency. It is this service above self that drives most volunteers, and this is pretty hard to place a dollar vlaue on.

The Pillager area is fortunate to have emergency volunteers who work together with the common goal of providing the best service possible with the resources available. The most important resource available to this organization is the dedicated vounteers who not only respond to the emergency calls, but continually train and train for the wide variety of events.

Pillager Aea Fire and Rescue is always seeking individuals who are interested in serving on the volunteer fire department. Interviews and testing take place in May and October for hiring in June and January. There are a few objective requirements to be on the fire department such as being at least 18 years old and residing or working daytime within eight minutes from one of the fire halls and more. However, the subjective requirements are ones the applicant needs to assess such as family support, employer support, and personal commitment. The latter is much more difficult to assess, but with good communication it will become apparent if the fire department is a viable option for you.

Being a volunteer firefighter is not for everyone, those who are willing to serve in this capacity should be commended. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer firefighter for Pillager Fire and Rescue please contact Fire Chief Greg Ringler at 218-746-4577 or pillagerareafire@scicable.com.

 




Being a volunteer firefighter takes Commitment and Courage!
When you speak to somebody that has been affected by an emergency to which Pillager Area Fire and Rescue has responded, it is not easy to put a dollar amount on the service provided. As a society we often are trying to quantify services by assigning a dollar value. The problem is, when it is your emergency that the department is responding to, the value of the service provided suddenly increases and dollar signs tend to lose their meaning.

This past year Pillager Area Fire and Rescue put forth more than 5,000 personnel hours towards responding to calls, training, and community events. This does not include administrative hours that were put into the organization of the department's training, A 2007 study by Independentsector.org assigns a value of $20.25 per volunteer hour. This translates into over $101,000.00 of services provided to the area free of cost. This makes a nice argument that could be used to validate expenditures in running a fire department, but not in this case.

The reality is the residents of the Pillager area are fortunate to have individuals who serve as volunteer firefighters and medical first responders. When an emergency arises, it is a small group of dedicated individuals who respond. Regardless of how many emergency calls there are, these individuals consistently train to keep their skills sharp. This is truly the best demonstration of the commitment of a volunteer responder. To spend countless hours training for an event that may or may not happen while they are around, is a testatment of the dedication these individuals have for our community. Attempting to simplify this by assigning a dollar value will lead to a misunderstanding of the real value.

The emergency service is only as strong as the ability of the volunteers to respond. This is a factor that sets volunteer emergency personnel apart from other organizations. Imagine that you serve for an organization, but the time that you will be needed to serve is unknown. Members must wear a pager that will notify them and they must be ready to take appropriate actions within minutes. No matter the time of the day, in a deep sleep, child's birthday party, or a holiday dinner and still be expected to respond. This might give a glimpse of what it is like to wear a pager for an emergency service.

The impact on providing a volunteer service goes far beyond the individual. To be an effective volunteer, the member needs to have an extremely supportive and understanding family. Family members are always impacted when the responder leaves for an emergency call. Someone is always left to keep the family going and this can be a very difficult position. Employers are also impacted when supporting a volunteer responder. The Pillager area is fortunate to have many great employers who recognize the value of releasing a vounteer from work to respond to an emergency. Some of our responders are self-employed, so when they respond they know that they are effectively closing their business while on a call. Great sacrifices are made by all to provide emergency services. The impact of an emergency is huge and has a ripple effect on many people beyond the actual responder.

At this point, the thought of joining a volunteer emergency service might not sound very appealing. Before it is discounted as something that "someone else should do," look at the benefits. When the pager does go off due to an emergency, somebody is having a bad day and you have the oppportunity to try to make it better. The person requesting the assistance doesn't have a choice as to who will come to their aid. They dialed 911 and will get the local emergency responders. This is a huge responsibility and with it can come great rewards. To leave this responsibility for "someone else" to do of course is the easiest option, but this would leave us without a functional timely response to an emergency. It is this service above self that drives most volunteers, and this is pretty hard to place a dollar vlaue on.

The Pillager area is fortunate to have emergency volunteers who work together with the common goal of providing the best service possible with the resources available. The most important resource available to this organization is the dedicated vounteers who not only respond to the emergency calls, but continually train and train for the wide variety of events.

Pillager aAea Fire and Rescue is always seeking individuals who are interested in serving on the volunteer fire department. Interviews and testing take place in May and October for hiring in June and January. There are a few objective requirements to be on the fire department such as being at least 18 years old and residing or working daytime within eight minutes from one of the fire halls and more. However, the subjective requirements are ones the applicant needs to assess such as family support, employer support, and personal commitment. The latter is much more difficult to assess, but with good communication it will become apparent if the fire department is a viable option for you.

Being a volunteer firefighter is not for everyone, those who are willing to serve in this capacity should be commended. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer firefighter for Pillager Fire and Rescue please contact Fire Chief Randy Lee at 218-820-9441 or pillagerareafire@scicable.com.


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