The Tensed Fire Protection District needs volunteers.

According to Fire Chief Kim Schwanz the department is shorthanded.

“There are about eight people that are active,” he said. “We’re low.”

Chief Schwanz said the district has struggled to attract new volunteers from the sparsely populated area.

“We don’t have a large pool to draw from in the area,” he said.

He attributed part of the cause to having a high number of people who commute long distances to work and are unavailable.

“We never used to have so many commuters,” he said. “We are looking for people in the area to help their neighbors and friends.”

Tensed Fire trains twice per month, typically at 6 p.m. according to Chief Schwanz.

They respond to approximately 85 calls per year.

“A lot of people think they can’t do it because they are busy. Even if you are only able to help out weekends, that takes some of the burden off,” he said. “You are not going to be called out every night.”

Volunteering for the fire department is not limited to fighting fires.

“There are different things that people can do. Someone with a CDL, they can help run a truck,” Chief Schwanz said.

Volunteers can also help around the station with various tasks or with equipment after a call.

Chief Schwanz said volunteers do not need to worry about being tasked with something they are not prepared to do.

“They are not going to have to go into a burning building right away. They can help with wetting an exposure or directing traffic,” he said. “People don’t realize how quickly you can eat up manpower when responding to a call.”

The Tensed Fire District does not have a junior firefighter program.

“That is something we want instigate as soon as we have a formal program,” Chief Schwanz said. “It’s been very successful in St. Maries. I know kids that started out there and are still firefighters to this day.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Tensed Fire, 208-274-2514.

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