With the new Fire Department of Mt. Juliet online a few months with 12 full time firefighters and 31 volunteers, there’s an effort now to reach out to inexperienced recruits to join the volunteer squad.
Veteran firefighter and FDMJ Division Cpt. Shawn Donovan said initially it was important to man the volunteer team with experienced recruits, but now he wants to give “green” people the opportunity to join the fire service industry.
“We all started at the beginning,” he said. “We were all rookies and we want to give people that opportunity.”
“Green” firefighters are welcome at the FDMJ and soon Donovan and the other volunteer division captains will look forward to training recruits who have a desire to be in the fire service industry. They are looking for 10 volunteers to train from scratch.
“We want 10 people from our city interested in fire service so we can train the Mt. Juliet way,” said Donovan.
They will train these “green” recruits first in all the basic, entry-level courses endorsed by the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy.
“That is a 16 hour class with a general overview of services,” said Donovan.
Then those elite recruits will get a chance to “hang around” the fire station to get a feel for what it’s like to be a firefighter. Next there will be a 64-hour course. This is possible with a small fee from the state that will enable Donovan and others to teach as many recruits as possible for the same amount of money.
Donovan said this would allow those interested an opportunity to “step into the profession.”
An added 10 volunteers will help augment the sturdy force already in place. Because, most of the experienced volunteers have full time positions elsewhere and aren’t able to be on call 24/7.
“It’s all a work in progress,” said Donovan.
He hopes to start training the “greens” in January. They are working out all the fine details of the qualifications, but generally those interested should be 18 years or older and a city resident.
“I feel like city residents are paying for the fire department with their taxes and this is a way to give back to the city,” said Donovan.
He said the current volunteers seem very supportive of the program.
“I think this rejuvenates the veterans as they work with people who started where they did,” said Donovan.
Overall, the volunteers have assisted the department on several car fires and many medical and accident calls. There’s yet to be a major fire in Mt. Juliet for the FDMJ to cover.
Regular volunteers at this time are responsible for 24 hours a month at the station.