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Camden calls on volunteers to fight fires
Camden County Fire Rescue is seeking at least 30 volunteer firefighters to join the department.

Recruitment drives will be held on five dates from March 31 through April 28 at different locations in Camden County.

Volunteers will be used to augment existing personnel to meet the fire protection needs of the county now and in the future. The goal is for training to be complete and the program operational by August.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, pass a medical screening test provided by the county and complete 50 hours of training over a four to six week period. Training will include the use of safety and fire fighting equipment, safety procedures and basic fire behavior.

Volunteers do not have to be Camden County residents. Camden fire chief Dennis Gailey said volunteers from surrounding counties will be assigned to stations closest to their home counties.

Gailey said volunteers will be covered by workman's compensation for work-related injuries and the county is currently looking at supplemental insurance to provide further protection.

The positions are unpaid, but volunteers are eligible for a firefighters' pension fund.

A recent evaluation by the department determined staffing levels had to be increased to meet future requirements set by the Insurance Services Office, which establishes how much money residents pay for fire insurance.

Gailey said the county would have had to hire an additional 10 firefighters to meet the new insurance requirements. He said the plan to recruit volunteers has strong support among elected officials and residents.

"I am excited about getting the community involved with their fire department," Gailey said.

He said residents in Camden County care about each other, "and that will prove to be a vital component of the program."

BREAKOUT

Open houses are scheduled at five locations in Camden County.

* March 31 9-11 a.m. at the Browntown Fire Station, 17850 Ga. 40, Kingsland.

* April 4 6-8 p.m. at the Dutchmill Fire Station, 7140 U.S. 17, Kingsland.

* April 14 9-11 a.m. at the Waverly Fire Station, 25399 U.S. 17, Waverly.

* April 16 6-8 p.m. at the Mushbluff Fire Station, 3557 Charlie Smith Sr. Highway, St. Marys.

* April 28 at the Crawfish Festival in downtown Woodbine.

Call 729-3911 for more information.



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