Tiffin Volunteer Fire Department working with half the needed volunteers

Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 10:33 PM CDT
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TIFFIN, Iowa (KCRG) - The Tiffin Fire Department said it was operating at about half the number of volunteers needed.

Chief Bill Hall said the town had grown around 230% over the last decade and needed more volunteers. With that growth comes more calls; 441 9-1-1 calls were made in 2021.

“As Tiffin continues to grow, 18 volunteer firefighters aren’t going to cut it, so the more the merrier for sure,” said Chief Hall.

As of April 19th, the number of calls year-to-date was up 49 from 2021. Those calls have gone up by about 80 calls per year since 2018. He said they’ve been trying to incentives volunteers.

“We’ve started offering pay-per-call; we also have applied for several grants,” she said.

Last year mutual aid helped the TFD 18 times when volunteers couldn’t respond, and 70 calls were answered where volunteers were not EMS certified. With the same 18 people being called out to each response, it’s causing burnout.

“Besides working a full-time job, like everybody else, it’s a lot,” said Volunteer and City Council member Skylar Limkemann. “There are days where I can’t get any work done because we’ve been running calls all day.”

Limkemann said he wanted to bring on paid firefighters, but with the community growing so quickly, other demands have been made first.

“With everything going on in the city, we have other projects that we need to do,” he said. “There are situations where you can budget for it, but other things come up, and you might not be able to hire that position.”

With no signs of growth slowing down, the two say it’s crucial to get more volunteers to make sure someone is there when 9-1-1 is called.

“Whatever you can do to recruit, that’s the game plan,” said Chief Hall.

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