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Firefighters need a few good volunteers
"Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue needs a few good men and women to fight fires, save accident victims, bring the sick to the hospital and respond to various other emergencies that their neighbors get themselves into.With only three full-time members, the fire department like any on the island relies on volunteers.Chief Joe Biller said hes hoping to find six to eight new volunteers at each of the four fire stations in Central Whidbey. The only requirements are to be an adult, to live in Central Whidbey and to be able-bodied.All new volunteers have to go through the Island County Recruit Academy this spring. The academy is six to eight weeks of pretty intense training, he said, and takes up most of those weekends.Having a flexible schedule, he said, is a definite plus for any firefighter. Yet the current volunteers include a variety of people and occupations, from a dentist and a Boeing engineer to a waitress and a cook. There are also many retired people, Biller said, particularly Navy chiefs.The districts boundaries run all the way from Penn Cove to just north of Freeland. Thats 50 square miles and about 3,300 houses that the department, based out of four stations, has the responsibility of protecting. While the current 50 volunteers only make $6 a call to make up for wear and tear on their cars Biller said the department offers some excellent training and experience for those interested in the profession. This spring, Biller said the department may hire two more full-time, paid firefighters, as well as hiring several firefighting interns this summer.For more information about becoming a volunteer, call 678-3602. Applications are available at the stations on Morris Road, Day Road, Race Road and in Coupeville."