The East Brunswick Independent Fire Company is looking for dedicated volunteers who aren’t afraid of hard work or fighting fires.
“A lot of people don’t realize the rescue services in the community are volunteer,” said a lieutenant with the company. “A lot of people join clubs and different things—the Knights of Columbus, woman’s clubs—where they get a sense of community. You have that here too. It’s something you can put your hands on. A way to give back.”
Volunteers younger than 18 start as cadets, learning the ropes before being allowed to fight fires. Older volunteers have to attend 126 hours of training where they learn the essentials of being a fire fighter, the science of how fires start, how to use equipment, and more. Training is provided at the county and is expected to be done within the first year.
Being a fire fighter can be time consuming, but very rewarding. The department answers between 800 and 900 calls a year (that includes fires as well as other emergencies) and volunteers are expected to answer about 30 percent.
“When the pager goes off, you drop everything your doing. You’re out the door and you’re off to an emergency. When we go out the door, someone’s having the worst day of their life,” said the lieutenant.
Volunteers also can take advantage of the company’s friendly atmosphere.
“There’s a social aspect too. It’s volunteer, but we’re basically a family,” said the lieutenant. “We run bus trips, sporting events and holiday parties for our members, so there’s a social aspect to it.”