Botetourt firefighters propose to let junior members participate

Current rules don’t allow them to fully participate as a firefighter, even if they’re certified

The department is proposing an amendment allowing 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to full participate.

FINCASTLE, Va. – To combat a lack of firefighters in the field, Botetourt County Fire and EMS wants to officially get junior members involved.

The department proposed an amendment to current rules allowing 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds that are certified to fully participate as a firefighter in the field.

Current rules allow for junior members to train with the department, but they cannot fully participate as a firefighter.

The proposed amendment would be more realistic for today’s workforce, according to Jason Ferguson, Botetourt County Chief of Fire and EMS.

“We’re always in need of people, whether it’s for volunteer or career,” said Ferguson. “We’re trying to fill the ranks and make sure we have an adequate supply of personnel. It would allow them to utilize their skills and continue to grow with the department and hopefully stay with us.”

If the proposal is approved next month, the change could be in effect as soon as August.

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Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.