Grayling Fire Department looking to add volunteer firefighters
Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:43pm caleb
New chief says Grayling, like many other municipalities in Michigan, is facing shortage of manpower
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Grayling Fire Department – a collaboration between the City of Grayling and Grayling Charter Township – is looking to add more volunteer firefighters to its roster.
City and township officials have said during recent meetings that the department’s volunteer firefighter ranks are down for a variety of reasons, including increased training time commitments and possible difficulties for businesses if employees have to leave work to fight fires.
Mark Brown, the new Grayling Fire Department Fire Chief, said the firefighter shortages are widespread across the state of Michigan.
Brown, who served as the Grayling Fire Department’s assistant fire chief before recently taking over as chief, said the department used to have a waiting list for people trying to serve as volunteer firefighters.
“It’s almost 180 degrees from that now,” Brown said. “The need is there for volunteers and on-call people.”
Brown said he thinks the biggest reason for the lack of volunteer firefighters is “the commitment to the department itself,” the time away from family, having to miss family time and events.
“It is a big commitment,” Brown said.
Brown said there is a significant amount of training involved, and the department does a lot more than just fight fires in Grayling; it serves neighboring communities and counties through mutual aid when needed, responds to vehicle crashes and other emergencies, and helps out the community with services such as traffic control during large events.
Brown said local employers are supportive in general of their employees serving as firefighters.
“I think in the community employers will generally support it. The majority have been able to get away from work. Businesses have been supportive,” Brown said.
Brown said he thinks people are willing to serve and it may just be a matter of “piquing interest” in people and continuing some of the department’s community outreach efforts.
Brown said anyone interested in serving as a volunteer firefighter can contact the Grayling Fire Department at (989) 348-6319. He encouraged interested people to make an appointment so they can talk with personnel, ask questions, and tour the station.