Clover Fire Department needs volunteer firefighters

Growth in Clover, S.C. means more homes and people that might need firefighters to come help them in an emergency
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:09 PM EDT
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CLOVER, S.C. (WBTV) - Growth in Clover, S.C. means more homes and people that might need firefighters to come help them in an emergency. That is why the town fire department is recruiting more volunteer firefighters to help respond.

This place used to be fully volunteer, but three years ago the town was growing so much, the town council decided they needed a paid staff. Two firefighters are the only people on the payroll at the Clover Fire Department with a third person on the way. The volunteers though fill in the gaps.

”There’s nothing more gratifying than helping someone in their worst time of need,” says Assistant Chief Fred Taylor. ”The town is growing. Charlotte is expanding, Lake Wylie is expanding and it’s all moving this way. So it’s making it tougher and tougher for the volunteers we do have.”

Since this time last year, there have been almost 100 more times Assistant Chief Fred Taylor and Eric Wilson turned on these sirens. This time last year, firefighters responded to about 380 calls. Compare that to this year’s 470 calls and growing. Wilson says an ideal response would be four firefighters—they have two maybe three. Taylor and Wilson respond and can most of the time get help from a volunteer. Most of the volunteers help after 5 when they get off from work.

”Sometimes we might have two calls at the same time, a fire over here and an auto accident up here. It’s very stressful sometimes,” says Wilson.

The department is depending on outside help while it recruits more volunteers. That outside help comes from other York County area fire departments. Wilson says they are fortunate to have it and rely on their partners to help them when it comes to responding. The response times though make a difference when it’s volunteers in the town vs. help coming from outside of it.

”They may take 10-15 minutes to get here versus normal house fire days the houses are built differently so five minutes the house is fully engulfed. So it makes a difference with having that volunteer here,” says Wilson.

So, they are hoping to increase their volunteer team to continue supporting and helping the town they’ve loved for years. The department has 20 volunteers and wants to recruit 10 more. 20 might seem a lot. The assistant fire chief says most of the volunteers have other jobs so it is hard to get them here during the day to respond to emergencies. Other than fires, those emergencies include medical assistance, trees down, car crashes, and several other calls.

Medical assists are a huge part of the firefighter’s duties because firefighters are sometimes the first on the scene. While they are not EMTs, they assist EMTs and help patients if the EMTs are not there before the firefighters are. This is a major part of emergency calls.

”We’ve got a long road ahead of us and we can’t do it without the volunteers,” he says.

So how long will it take to get to that 10? Well, it could be quite a while. Apart from the hiring process, the firefighters need about 370 hours of training which the assistant chief says could take years to get. However, he says they do work with anyone to get their certificate and start working as quickly as possible.

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