Fire Department Seeks Volunteers

Thursday, 26 August 2010

By D.A. Wilkinson,

The Damascus Fire Department is taking part in a new federal program to recruit volunteers to help firefighters.

Candice McDonald, a Damascus firefighter and emergency medical technician, said the program is an initiative of the Department of Homeland Security and is called Fire Corps.

The new Fire Corps is broken down into civilians with no safety training and people with training, such as doctors or other firefighters.

When a house burned in Salem recently on a hot day, members of the Damascus Fire Department helped the Salem firefighters but not by fighting the fire.

The Damascus firefighters helped Salem firefighters with what they call “rehab.”

McDonald said the fire personnel battling a blaze “either need to cool down or, in winter, be warmed up.”

The department already has a truck and trailer that has water fans, coolers, benches and plastic chairs for firefighters who need to rest, according to Fire Chief John Bricker.

“It was hot that day, and [the Salem firefighters] got cooled off,” she said.

Those in the Fire Corps help with rehab. Those with proper training will check a firefighter’s blood pressure, pulse and “pulse oxygen,” which determines a person’s oxygen level.

“[Firefighters] sit in rehab for 12 minutes,” McDonald said. If the person’s oxygen level isn’t right, the firefighter, “will stay another 10 minutes” in rehab.

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