SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Several East Texas fire departments are in need of volunteers. The fall season brings school pickups, sporting events, and tighter schedules. Meaning volunteer firefighters may not always be available to answer the call for help.
"The need is very high," said David Gerald, Smith Co. ESD 2 Captain. "It just depends on what day and what time. I mean you never know when that call might come."
Before David Gerald was a fire captain, he was a volunteer firefighter. Just one of the many men and women who serve their community by suiting up and grabbing a fire hose whenever the call goes out.
"You've got family, you've got kids," said Gerald. "You're doing the ballgames and everything else. And then when the call drops, we tend to jump and run. Holidays, weekends, no matter what."
Outside the Bullard Fire Department, there's a sign that reads "Volunteers Wanted." A message being echoed by departments across East Texas who are in need of those looking to give back to their community.
"If they have a want to serve or desire to serve, volunteer fire departments are an excellent place to do it," said Gerald.
According to Gerald, volunteers aren't only needed on the front lines, but also behind the scenes.
"We've got places from support and administrative staff all the way through the actual firefighting," said Gerald. "So they don't necessarily have to be a firefighter to be a member of the fire department. They can be support staff."
Those looking to join their local VFD will go through the required training. They'll learn everything from how to roll a hose to fighting a structure fire. All paid for by the state. Most departments require volunteers to be at least 18 years old and live within a certain radius of the fire station. No prior experience is required.