Arcata Fire Fighting to Keep Volunteers
Arcata volunteer firefighter, Juan Macias, has put in more than a thousand hours of work in his one year with the Arcata Fire Protection District.
"I've been here for one month, but I feel like I've been here a lot more," said Macias who also goes to school full time.
Arcata volunteer firefighters need to spend six months with the station before they know if they'll be accepted into the department.
"The commitment is really huge," said Fire Chief, Desmond Cowan. "We expect people to be available. People get called out sometimes at three in the morning."
Arcata Fire hold volunteers to the same standards said Cowan, which means that they get jobs as staffed firefighters at other stations.
"We have a perpetual new group coming in and we have people who are here that may move on," said Cowan.
For two years Arcata Fire has been using funds from a grant to help increase volunteer numbers and design ways to keep them at the station.
Macias said people who enjoy the station are the ones that stay, regardless of the commitment.
"The ones who like to do it, [they] are the ones who will stick around," said Macias.