Hello and welcome to my blog on Rural & Volunteer Fire Service 101. My name is Harvey West III, Captain with Graeagle Fire Protection District located in Graeagle, CA of Northern California. I wanted to start this blog in the efforts to represent the small fire departments across America and how we operate.
When I write and talk about rural fire departments I relate to my own and the majority of the departments within our county. Rural to us is a town just under 800 people with no stoplights or fast food and any traffic congestion is usually due to a deer casually walking across the road. When we say volunteer, we mean it. Having our departments comprised of men and women throughout the community dedicating and volunteering their time to train and protect their neighbors.
Being a small town department rules, regulations and laws have a strong effect on us. I’m here to represent the small rural and volunteer fire departments that struggle to operate as more and more regulations, certifications and laws are forced upon us when our resources and funding are already spread thin. My goal is to expose the impacts to the general public and law makers who have seemed to forget about us, yet hold us accountable to attain such requirements in order to operate.
Of course, politics can get boring. So I also like to talk about training efforts on the volunteer level, leadership and the bottom up approach to the departments structure. Creating a community where we can all come together to help solve our issues that arise on the department level and help expose them to the public.