Ashland City’s fire department has released a recruitment video aimed at increasing its number of volunteers.
The video, which was fully funded by a FEMA SAFER grant, was created by Bolt TV in Houston.
The production company has had clients like New Balance, Exxon Mobile and IBM.
In the eight-minute video, firefighters discuss the expectations and benefits that come along with the job. Local firefighters are also seen in reenactments of common scenes from the job, such as a car crash, a house fire and a water rescue.
With about 25 volunteer firefighters and eight paid positions, the department is not able to have as many workers at a time as it would like, captain Tony Clark said. Right now, there are normally two volunteers working at once. Ideally, the department would have four or five at all times, he said.
“We have not met that goal yet,” Clark said.
With fewer and fewer people across the country applying to be firefighters, finding workers is increasingly difficult, he said. In interviews, Clark often tells people interested that about a third of the volunteers will move away for emergency responder jobs, another third are actively working to get a paid position and the final third are just hoping to give back to their community.
“There’s a true sense of pride in serving people. And especially serving people when they’re in their worst moment and you can help them,” he said. “You can walk away from that with a huge sense of self-price and the fact that you’ve done something good.”
In the past year, about five volunteers have left the department to accept paid firefighting jobs or EMS positions.
Without the volunteers, the Town of Ashland City would likely have to increase its budget for firefighters, Clark said.
“If it was not for them (volunteers), there’s no way we could offer the quality of service we do,” he said.
The video, which began production in 2017, has already reached more than 12,000 people through social media, Clark said.
“I’ve done two interviews in the past week that they came in and said they saw it,” he said.