Hotline Hopes to Help Volunteer Shortage


Many parts of Kentucky rely on volunteer firefighters and right now, there’s a shortage.

“A few nights there are only two or three guys here but we make it work, as we always do,” said J.D. Thomas, a volunteer firefighter at the Waco Fire Department in Madison County.

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The Waco Fire Department relies on volunteers.

“You could be sitting around the table, sleeping whatever hanging out with them but instead you put it beside you and go help some stranger that you don’t even know,” said Thomas.

”When somebody else is in an emergency they don’t plan it around your schedule,” said Steven Hamilton,another volunteer firefighter in Waco.

Thomas said sometimes only three volunteers are around to fight a fire but he says the Waco Station is in good shape compared to others. 

“We’ve been around stations in the county that only have two three guys on a day-to-day basis,”said Thomas.

Nationwide there is a shortage of these volunteer firefighters.

“It’s harder to get the trucks out the door, get to other people emergencies,” said Hamilton.

The Kentucky Fire Commission set up a hotline to make it easier to volunteer.

“There’re a lot of people who don’t want to walk into a fire house and say ‘hey I’m here to be a firemen,’ they want a little bit more information on it first,” said Hamilton.

“You just call the number and they give you an idea of where your fire house is and the address and you go from there,” said Thomas.

The commission said the hotline will direct calls from all over Kentucky to recruiters who will collect information from people interested in volunteering.

The hotline is also supposed to streamline volunteer records.

The hotline is: (800) FIRELINE or (88) 347-3546.