Volunteer firefighters from several rural towns in North Carolina are important to ensure people's safety when disaster strikes. However, CBS NC reports finding volunteer firefighters is becoming more of a challenge.
Carthage's Fire Chief, Brian Tyner states, "Back in the day, you could leave your job, run the fire call, go back to your job and everything would be fine. With the economy, firefighters are having to work one or two jobs just to make ends meet nowadays."
Most of Carthage, N.C.'s fire department consists of volunteers, but statewide, finding volunteer firemen is still a rising issue.
"We have fewer farms today," said State Fire Marshal and Insurance Commissioner, Mike Causey, "so we don't have the farmers that can just leave the farm and go fight a fire."
With the number of firefighters for most rural areas dwindling, this could cause the fire district's rating to change in a negative way causing an increase in property insurance. State law requires there to be 20 qualified firefighters on a team in order for it to be considered a volunteer fire department.
However, a new law has been passed where volunteer departments with under twenty of required qualified firemen could apply for a waiver. The waiver would permit them to have 15. Governor Cooper has not yet signed the bill.
Most fire districts are looking to train high school students and to pay volunteer firefighters.
Chier Tyner told CBS NC, "It is tough and we just have to make the best of it."