GLIDE — Not only are members of the Glide Volunteer Fire Department raising money this weekend for equipment, they are also seeking volunteers.
The department’s fundraising arm, the Glide Fire Association, holds a popular barbecue and craft fair each year at the Glide Community Center to raise money for the department to help pay for specialized equipment.
This weekend was no different, except for one factor. The need for volunteers is reaching critical levels — in Glide and in similar departments across the country.
The department covers a large area, and Chief Ted Damewood says they are getting to a critical point, with 22 firefighters on their active roster, but many are getting to the age where they’re going to be getting out soon. So department officials take the opportunity at the event to try to entice a few more volunteers to join the department.
“With the force we have now, when they’re ready to retire from the fire department, all that knowledge is going to be gone, so it’s very crucial that we get more volunteers, and it’s not just us, it’s a worldwide epidemic,” said Damewood.
He said it’s a significant commitment. They train once a week on Mondays, and firefighters have to get their certifications, and then have to do continuing education to keep the certification up.
Damewood said he hopes an Explorer program at the high school will entice more volunteers into the pipeline.
The event, which continues today, features a $9 tri-tip barbecue, a craft fair with vendors from around Southern Oregon, baked goods, a pie shop and a donation raffle.
Department business manager Beth Werner says the fire department has about 22 active volunteers and is always looking for more to help them cover the district, which stretches from Rock Creek Road to the east, to the west side of Blacktop Hill on Highway 138E, and the boundaries go to Echo Bend on North Bank Road and up Little River Road on the south side.
“We respond farther than that, but that is our tax district,” Werner said.
As for the need for volunteers, Damewood says you can never have too many in a volunteer fire department, especially one that covers that much territory.
“If you’re even remotely interested, Monday nights we have drills at the fire station, and feel free to come in and we’ll show you around, and you can fill out an application,” Damewood said.
For information, call the Glide Fire Department at 541-496-0224.
The barbecue and craft fair run today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Glide Community Center.