By Katherine Gibbs
The Belton Fire Corp. is a recently established organization that came from the dismantling of the Belton volunteer firefighters. The fire corp. is a nationally recognized association through the Texas Fire Chief’s Association. It allows fire departments to bring in volunteers of all ages to help with different department needs such as helping install smoke detectors and educating the public.
They are starting to implement a rehab policy so when the firefighters go through so much continuous activity or they use so many air pack bottles they will have to go to mandated rehab. They are hoping to have volunteers help set up a rehab tent to help the firefighters after managing a fire. They are also hoping to set up a junior fire academy once they get established so that children can come to the station and be taught fire safety and get to be mentored by the firefighters.
Fire Chief Bruce Pritchard hopes that people will sign up to volunteer and that it will eventually become its own entity because he doesn’t want to run it but wants to get it started. Starting out they are looking for about 10 to 15 people and are planning on having classes on Thursday nights for two or three hours. Anyone can apply to the fire corps and can choose different jobs that they want to do such as helping with social media or taking pictures at fire scenes.
The date of the first class has not been set yet because they are looking to spread the word, which will take time. People interested in volunteering can call the fire station and get information. If people want to apply they have to come to the fire station and fill out an application and will sit down with someone and talk about what they are interested in. They are hoping to launch the program in late fall either in Sept. or Oct.
The classes will either be held at the fire station or the Harris community center. “This is a great way to give back to the community. I mean I can’t think of any other way, any better way than to come out and help us teach fire prevention at the schools or fire prevention to the public,” said Pritchard. There are already a few people that have been interested in doing the first class and is looking forward to feedback because he knows it will be a learning experience for all of them.