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Be somebody, be a volunteer first responder
Douglas and Bayfield County medical and fire responders will be gathering in Brule on Saturday for the annual “Be Somebody” event. Miranda Vander Leest reports.
They need volunteers to help in times of emergency.
The captain of Brule Fire Department Borg Isaksen hopes the event will increase awareness and recruit members for the volunteer fire and medical departments.
“We are 100% volunteer, you know. We just don’t have the run volume and population to sustain a career department, so if we don’t have volunteers stepping forward, that decreases the level of service in terms of response times and people to man equipment.”
Currently, Brule’s fire and medical department is comprised of a dozen people, and the community relies heavily on them. However, he says if they’re able to recruit one or two people out of the surrounding counties because of this effort, it will be worth it.
Similarly, the City of Bayfield is lacking in responders, with 18 volunteers. Both teams are looking to recruit as many people as possible to reduce the heavy workloads. Isaksen stressed the urgency to recruit the younger generation.
“We really need that demographic to step forward and help with the efforts.”
Due to members retiring and moving away, Bayfield Mayor Larry MacDonald says he would like to be one step ahead of the game and double his team.
“Every once in a while they will get 2 or 3 calls in a day or 2 or 3 calls overnight, and that’s a lot of stress on people. The more we could spread it around the better it would be.”
Both say the Bayfield and Brule departments are understaffed and are on call 24 hours a day. Isaksen says that without the volunteer departments, the community would have to contract with another community and pay them to provide services.
“So if we aren’t able to make it as a volunteer department I don’t know because the state requires townships to provide emergency response. If we just can’t do it someday, I honestly don’t know what will happen.”
MacDonald wants everyone to know about the hard work the teams put in, but also wants the public to be aware of the determination to recruit people to help assist.
The Brule event begins at noon.
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