Fire department closure looms

Volunteers desperately needed to keep area fire department running

The Watch Lake-North Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department (WLNGLVFD) is in danger of closing if new volunteers are not found soon.

WLNGLVFD vice-president Brian Rusaw says the department is now in a critical position with the current low membership of resident volunteer firefighters.

“We have a good, working volunteer fire department, but half of them are “snowbirds.” So, when they leave [for winter], it puts a fairly large burden on the remaining members at hand.”

This threatens the viability of the WLNGLVFD, he explains, and is leaving the service almost unmanageable.

“We also have a number of aging volunteers. It’s the same group of volunteers all the time, and they volunteer for everything.”

While this problem isn’t unique, since most volunteer fire departments struggle to maintain firefighters and first responders, Rusaw notes something needs to be done.

“We’ve had some response, but not enough.”

The last ad and poster campaign run by WLNGLVFD didn’t attract a single new recruit, he adds.

Applicants must be reasonably fit and health and commit to two hours per week of practice and emergency call-out response when possible, Rusaw explains.

“As long as you’re willing to help out when you are available, we can use you.”

No experience is required and all training and gear is provided at no cost to volunteers.

He notes a closure of the WLNGLVFD means residents will lose not only their area fire protection and first responders, but potentially their home’s fire insurance as well.

For more information, call fire chief Andy Palaniak at 250-456-7460.