They run into burning buildings... for free
By Cameron Wallace
The Cuero Record
Not only burning buildings, but burning fields, too. If there’s a car wreck at 3 a.m., they’ll be there to extricate trapped people from the vehicle.
They do it all for free.
Just like members of volunteer fire departments all across the country, firefighters at the Cuero Volunteer Fire Department lay their lives on the line every day, and they’re completely unpaid.
Assistant Cuero Volunteer Fire Chief Fred Postert says, “roughly 80 percent of firefighters around the country are volunteers. And the numbers are declining. Rural communities like Cuero, Yoakum, Westhoff, Yorktown--all of us are suffering from lack of volunteers. We (CVFD) went from around 60 members down to 24 members in our department. Depending on what type of fire, we get about seven to ten firefighters that show up.”
Postert continues, “On a big grass fire, we need that manpower to rotate out. I can’t keep my people out there; it’s the heat, the wear and tear on the body on the back of those trucks; we’ve had grassfires that have burned for eight hours or longer. I need to have people so I can work them in shifts. Same thing with a structure fire. When I send my people into a structure fire, they might have 40 minutes in that heat, and need to be rotated out.”
It’s not only more volunteer firefighters that Assistant Chief Postert says he needs. “We get, from the County, for every time a truck leaves the station--it doesn’t matter whether we use all of our trucks or just one, the department gets a total of $200. No matter how long we’re out there, no matter how much fuel we use, the department gets $200. We get no pay. We do it because we love it.”
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