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Number of Boone County Fire volunteers remains steady as national numbers see decline


Boone County Fire Assistant Chief Gale Blomenkamp says the recent cold weather has played a role in some of the most recent fires that were seen.

The Boone County Fire District continues to have multiple volunteers to help fight fires. Blomenkamp said the department had between 25-33 volunteers to help but out fires in the extreme cold.

"We have seen some numbers as far as the applicant pool go drop down. But we still we can still recruit and we can still get the volunteers. We have a great recruiting pool to choose from, and that's the University of Missouri," Blomenkamp said.

The BCFD numbers range between 150-190 volunteers at any point and time of the year, which has been steady for several years.

Per the U.S. Fire Administration, recruitment and retention have become two of the most significant challenges among the U.S. fire and emergency services in the past several decades. The National Fire Protection Agency keeps track of the number of firefighters around the country. It found that the number of volunteer firefighters in 2020 was fewer than 677,000 compared to around 898,000 tallied in 1984.

"Things have changed over time," Blomenkamp said. "And, you know, the fire district's not immune to some of the struggles that other businesses are having right now, finding people to work."

Blomenkamp said it's hard to find people that want to do this work for free, but the BCFD is a building block.

"(Volunteers) get a lot of experience very quickly, and they are then using us to move on to maybe a paid career job in the fire service," he said. "It's kind of a feather in our cap because we have a lot of members that started in our fire district that are now working and or fire chiefs somewhere in the country."

The Boone County Fire Protection District continued to investigate Thursday morning after an explosion and fire at a Hallsville duplex on Wednesday. According to Boone County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Chuck Leake, two adults were transported to University Hospital with “serious injuries.” 

Early Tuesday morning, two people were killed after a house fire at Potawatomi Campgrounds just outside of Fulton city limits. The Callaway County Fire Protection District is another area fire unit that uses volunteers. According to the Callaway County Sheriff's Office, multiple fire departments and Callaway County deputies responded to a home off Bartley Lane for a fire that had spread to include the entire house.

More information about the application process for the Boone County Fire Protection District can be found on its website .

Article Topic Follows: Fire

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Jazsmin Halliburton


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