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Firefighting industry on fire in Texas, but some VFDs still struggling

Posted at 10:17 AM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 11:17:25-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Becoming a firefighter in the Lone Star State is a bit of an easy process.

It all boils down to the fact that it’s a red-hot industry.

“We have a lot of people who are veterans who come, they've been in the military, and they want to continue that kind of service to their community,” said Capt. Stuart Marrs with the College Station Fire Department.

“Just like they were serving their country.”

For the fully-staffed department, Marrs explained it is sometimes easy roping in new employees, as they hire twice a year.

“We have more people apply and come test than we need,” he admitted.

However, the task at hand isn’t always so easy for volunteer fire departments.

“Volunteers have day jobs so they're at work during the day,” Marrs said.

“So in an emergency that happens during the day, they've either got to have a supervisor who understands and lets them go respond or they're gonna miss it.”

This isn’t anything new for the Brazos Valley, in fact, just a quick Google search will show you, volunteer fire departments across the country are struggling to stay staffed.

This can be especially problematic not only because VFDs account for the majority of fire departments in the United States, but because they oftentimes work hand in hand with city departments, like College Station.

“If there's a big event in the city, the volunteers from the county will come into the city and help us out,” he said.

All in all, Marrs explained that working for a fire department is a tough job, both mentally and physically, but it’s one that he believes is worth it.

“It is a really tough job,” he began.

“If you're gonna… do it for 25 or 30 years, it can really wear on you, so you want to know what you're getting into.”

Right now, the CSFD is looking to fire paramedics but is accepting applications for all positions.

To apply, head over to its website.