Goodyear Fire Department Creates New Volunteer Program

Monday, 11 October 2010

By Jackee Coe, The Arizona Republic

The Goodyear Fire Department has created a new volunteer program and plans to secure funding and staffing to operate it.

"We're just really getting it started," Community Education Coordinator Tanja Tanner said. "We haven't really kicked off our recruitment."

The department registered its Fire Corps program almost a year ago, and fire officials have been developing ideas for programs and looking for a volunteer coordinator to oversee the program.

The program is under the umbrella of the national Citizen Corps volunteer program, which includes the Community Emergency Response Team and Volunteers in Police Service. Fire Corps volunteers help the Fire Department, promote fire-safety awareness and prepare the community for emergencies.

Tanner said one of their main goals is to start a "canteen," which would be a vehicle that provides beverages, food and other supplies to firefighters who are on a scene for several hours.

Other things volunteers could do include manning information tables at safety fairs, teaching CPR classes, doing child safety seat inspections and participating in smoke-alarm walks.

The Fire Department had volunteers before it created Fire Corps, but it now has a more formal, structured program for its 10 volunteers.

"The volunteers will be more invested in it because it will be part of a program. That will help with retention of volunteers," said Sam Debus, a volunteer with the city of Goodyear and member of the Goodyear Citizen Corps Council, which oversees Fire Corps.

Once planning is complete, the next step will be to secure funding and find a volunteer coordinator, Tanner said. The department can get federal funding through the Citizen Corps council.

"We will accept volunteers and can use volunteers at all times, but in creating those steady month-to-month programs (for them to do), we're still developing those," Debus said.

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