Henry County rescue squads making big push to recruit volunteers

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HENRY COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Rescue squads in Henry County are making a big push to get people to volunteer.

The squads say they don't often have a lot of time to focus on recruitment, but now that they do, they are trying to get the word out because the need is so high.

For rescue squads in Henry County, the continued lack of people signing up to be volunteers is becoming increasingly dangerous.

"We have a good handful that runs a majority of the calls. With a handful running a majority of the calls you can expect some burnout," Ridgeway Rescue Squad President Darren Lockridge said about the rescue squad.

According to the Henry County Department of Public Safety, which helps the rescue squads respond to calls, that burnout is causing some volunteers to stop volunteering.

With no new volunteers signing up, that means the number of people available to respond to calls is dwindling, which leads to the remaining volunteers having to respond to more calls, increasing the potential for burnout.

"It comes to the point that they're spending more time there then they are at home, or at their current job, or other endeavors that they slowly back off," HCDPS Operations Cpt. Brandon Hatcher explained.

If the trend continues, it could force the county to have to hire more career staff or bring in supplemental help.

"They would have to find money from other things that they could possibly allocate it to, such as other government agencies, schools, improvements to the local area," Hatcher said.

Lockridge believes the fear of the unknown is keeping a lot of people from becoming volunteers.

He says he had that same fear when he was a teenager, but signed up anyway because he understood the need and he found that his fear went away over time.

"They all like the lights and sirens and the excitement so to speak, but when they realize what has to be done the tables are turned at that point," Lockridge said. "A lot of people think they can't do something like this."

Anyone 16 and older can volunteer, even if only available for a couple of hours a week.

Lockridge emphasizes that while all of the rescue squad could use help, the Axton and Horsepasture squads have the greatest need.

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