Sunday, November 28, 1999

Fire department looks to residents for help

On-call members needed to boost staff

Enquirer Contributor

        MASON — The Mason Fire Department is holding a blitz to boost its ranks — and is looking to residents for help.

        The department is forming a new class of on-call paid members to provide emergency services during evenings and weekends and to supplement full-time crews. Paid on-call personnel can choose to be trained as emergency medical technicians, firefighters or both. The department maintains an average of 25 paid crew members to serve a population of around 19,000.

        Once certified, the on-call members are usually assigned to an evening-duty crew and paid hourly when alerted to respond from home. Mason pays for all training.

        “We're asking for a little bit of time,” Chief William Goldfeder said. “It allows you to get to know people, it allows you to get to know Mason real well because we're all over Mason.”

        The recruitment kicks off with question-and-answer sessions Dec. 9 and 11, where interested residents can talk with department officers and firefighters. Residents can find out about the time commitment, training and the role of an on-call member, Chief Goldfeder said.

        New residents say Mason has “a hometown feel and ... that's what draws a lot of people to Mason,” the chief said. “And with that they want to become involved, and what better way to get involved than helping your neighbors?”

        On-call members should live in Mason or within in a 5-mile radius.

        The department's on-call force includes a variety of pro fessionals including truck drivers, singers, managers, computer programmers, nurses, homemakers, engineers and college and high school teachers. More than 35 percent of the force is made up of women, including equipment drivers and shift commanders.

        Training normally takes eight months and begins in January. New members are typically accepted during yearly drives so training can be done as a group.

        “Everybody likes to belong to something,” the chief said. “Everybody likes to go somewhere where they're identi fied, and we certainly offer that. We are a big family here.”

        Serving as an on-call firefighter or emergency medical technician is not only a unique way to serve your community, it's also an experience few other activities can duplicate, firefighters say.

        “It puts you back in touch with the real world,” Chief Goldfeder said.

        “When you see people recovering from tragedies or even not recovering from tragedies, it gives you great perspective. It sure gives me perspective in life and how precious life is.”


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