GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCBD)- The Goose Creek Rural Fire Department has been awarded a $552,258.29 grant by F.E.M.A.
With volunteer firefighters at an all-time low, the department plans to use the money to fix that problem.
Fire Chief Robert Maibach says that in his nearly 40 years of service, he’s never seen a volunteer deficit like this one. He believes that many people can’t sacrifice the time for a number of reasons.
“I think one of the overriding reasons we’ve seen a decrease in volunteers over the last 3 decades is really socioeconomic,” says Maibach. “The fact that people have to work 2 and 3 jobs and don’t have time to give back to the community.”
Goose Creek Rural Fire Department is comprised of both paid and volunteer firefighters and covers unincorporated areas of Goose Creek.
“One of our goals of our grant is to not only recruit folks to get on the big red truck, and respond to emergencies, but we’re looking for folks who are not wanting to fight fire,” says Maibach.
While the department has set a goal to recruit 15 firefighters a year for the next 4 years, they are also looking to expand their team in other ways.
“We’re looking for folks who are willing to step up, come in, and as I joked the other day….if I had a guy who just wanted to come in and change light bulbs once a week…I’d take him,” says Maibach.
Maibach understands the commitment of being in the fire service. As a 3rd generation firefighter, he has an immense amount of respect for the men in his department.
“It takes a significant amount of sacrifice, it takes a special individual that’s willing to do what we do,” he says.
The first part of the grant will be given on December 16th. Maibach and his team hope that the money will give them the resources to grow and serve the community even better than before.