Holidays, sports and hunting season seem to be on people’s minds lately, but Garden Valley Fire Protection District is experiencing a volunteer shortage and looking for people who might want to serve their community, their neighbors and their family. The GVFPD is recruiting those interested in learning new skills, or upgrading skills. Many volunteer options can fit even the smallest skill set.
The Mission of the GVFPD is to be responsible for wildland fires on private lands and structure fires, EMS services from EMT through paramedic levels, technical rescues which involve swift water and rope rescues, searches, and auto extrications. District Chief Jon Delvalle explains, “There really isn’t any hazard we don’t go to other than law enforcement calls. But often we are staged at those calls in case there is a medical need that could arise. We cannot support these missions unless we have people to do it with. We don’t want to have to cut back and just fight fires.”
Here are a couple of short movies taken by a member of the GV Fire Protection District of a recent river rescue of some hunters that got into a bit of a bind near Banks-Lowman Road and HWY 55……
Delvalle further explains, “We do medical, fire, tech rescue with training that kicks off in January. We are looking for people interesting in serving the community in the different venues and no one has to do all mission skills.” Delvalle describes how some of his firefighters don’t want to do medical or be EMT’s or make decisions on another person’s health, but have no problem going into a burning building.
Delvalle wants to custom fit what people prefer doing saying, “It takes many people to do many types of missions in the GVFPD. There is flexibility in physical capabilities or what skills people are interested in. People don’t have to be a firefighter or do water rescues. But we need people to drive the ambulance. If you can drive a car then you can drive an ambulance. Others can do basic medical. Some people cannot to do heavy lifting or hike up a mountain or want to get in the water but can help in other areas. We can train and cross train people regularly in whatever areas they are interested in.”
Those interested in the EMT training can start a class that is offered online which has been made possible for rural areas. The course starts in January and can be done in a three month period with hands-on training several times a month. There is an expected commitment to the District upon passing the exams and completion of the course.
The GVFPD is experiencing more than half of all the new growth in the county and that trend seems to be continuing. Delvalle confirms, “The district has lost 20% of their volunteers because due to people moving, taking on other jobs, or just too busy to volunteer, which is common when the economy is going well. The growth in the community means there is hope to tap into new people that want to serve the community in some capacity.”
If there continues to be a volunteer shortage, GVFPD might have to find a way (usually taxes) to either hire some staff or quit doing what they are doing and just fight fires. Emergency medical help would not be readily available if there is not enough staffing. The District does not want to go in that direction.
Contact the GV Fire Department for information on how you can help or if interested in signing up for EMT training. Call 208-462-3175, cell at 208-559-8682 or 208-462-3033 or stop by the Fire Station on the north Middlefork Road.
Written by Janet Juroch
All photos and filming submitted by Garden Valley Fire Protection District