Boone County Fire looking for volunteer firefighters

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BOONE COUNTY- The Boone County Fire Protection District is looking to fill positions for Missouri’s largest volunteer firefighter program.

The District’s academy, which begins in July, is now taking applications for resident firefighters.

Gale Blomenkamp, the District’s public information officer, says the program is recruiting to fill the needs to fight fires across a large area.

“We’ve got about 220 volunteer firefighters out there throughout our fire jurisdiction, which is 14 fire stations and about 500 square miles.” Blomenkamp said.

The current mid-May recruitment period comes at a time when a lot of volunteers, who are also college students, begin leaving because they graduate or are heading home for summer vacation. The loss of student volunteers means a large turnover rate for the District.

However, Blomenkamp sees the turnover rate as an opportunity.

“It is a feather in our cap. We look at ourselves as kind of a stepping stone. When people come to us, they get very good training, they get very good experience,” Blomenkamp said.

As a volunteer program, Boone County Fire Protection District values its ability to assist people and other departments through teamwork.

Brad Fraizer, Assistant Fire Chief for the Columbia Fire Department, said his team regularly trains with and interacts with District firefighters.

“We rely on each other a lot of different ways, and we’re glad to have them close by,” Fraizer said.

He believes the District’s volunteer firefighters are needed and make a difference when fire-fighting jurisdictions cross over.

“We do run quite a few calls with the fire district and it’s not unusual either on medical calls, accidents on the highway, or structure fire calls. Regardless, we do run a lot of calls with them,” Fraizer said.

Applications for the District’s academy are due May 2.