The Camanche Fire Department struggles to find volunteers while call volume increases

CAMANCHE, Iowa  --   The Camanche Fire Department hopes to fill 15 empty volunteer positions as it deals with the highest amount of calls in years.

Camanche Fire Chief Dave Schutte said the Camanche Fire Department has responded to almost 600 calls this year. He said they had 518 calls in 2017.

"Some days you can see 7 calls," Schutte said. "Very seldom do we have zero call days, but multiple call days are increasing."

The department only has three full-time firefighters, so Schutte said it can not operate without volunteers.

"We have a lot of people who come through the door to volunteer, but once they get into it, they decide it's too much time, too much commitment, and more than they expected," Schutte said. "Probably 80% of them are gone within a year or two."

The department is down to 24 volunteers, including five nurses who run the ambulance. Schutte said they have less than 20 people who are certified in firefighting. Schutte also said a group of five or six volunteers could retire soon, causing another decrease in numbers. The oldest volunteer has been with the department for 35 years. Schutte said volunteering for the department is all about helping the community.

"That`s your reward at the end of the day, you want to know that you did a good job and helped someone in their time of need when they most needed you," Schutte said.

The department pays for new volunteer training classes. It takes two years to become certified. Those interested in volunteering for The Camanche Fire Department can fill out at an application at The Camanche Fire Station.

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