Now is a good time to thank our local volunteer firefighters

We all hear the sirens and see the familiar sight of fire trucks traversing our highways and roads, but have you ever considered just how often that happens. The numbers are dramatic. In 2016 one local fire department responded to 607 calls consisting of:

– 389 medical aids

– 54 auto accidents

– 71 fires

– 11 Hazmat reports

– 82 other needs

Those calls represented more than 3,000 individual responses, with an average of five men or women responding to every call. Individuals’ efforts were amazing, with one responder logging 262 calls, and another at 187. And when they weren’t responding, they logged 4,580 training hours.

These were just some of the statistics shared during the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department’s 139th annual Installation of Officers and Awards Banquet held earlier this month. Yes, volunteers logged those impressive numbers. The fire department has just three paid staff, which includes an office manager. There are 33 volunteer firefighters, with a support team of 14, who answer the call whenever it comes and without compensation.

It’s a scenario that’s not unique to Quincy; it’s replicated throughout Plumas County as dedicated groups of men and women volunteer their time to come to the aid of residents and visitors. Drive by any of the firehouses in our communities and you will see full parking lots on the weekends and in the evenings when these volunteers forego time at home with their families to attend trainings and meetings.

Our county and local communities couldn’t begin to pay for fully-staffed firehouses available around the clock. We all owe such a debt of gratitude to these individuals who give so freely of their time to make all of us safer when disaster strikes — whether it be personal or community wide. Just take a look at this week’s sheriff’s blotter, which is filled with calls for assistance during the last round of storms and flooding. Fire department volunteers responded along with paid Caltrans and public works employees, as well as CHP and sheriff’s office personnel. It was the local fire departments that became the go-to locations to pick up sandbags, and their volunteers who helped county and state personnel clear roads and protect homes.

Quincy volunteer firefighters recognize their own during their annual dinner, as do the other departments across the county. But, it would be nice if they could hear some accolades from the public as well. So the next time you see a volunteer firefighter that you know, take the time to say “thank you” and let him or her know just how much we appreciate their service.