Behind the scenes with Hardin County Fire Department
Its Tuesday night, and for the volunteers at the Hardin County Fire Department, that means one thing.
Hardin County Fire consists of nearly 190 volunteers, so bi-monthy training like this is vital to keeping the volunteers call ready
"We don't get to fight a fire everyday and we are all volunteers so we have full-time jobs. So sometimes we might not have been in an airpack for a month just because we haven't had anything."
This nights training is only part of the nearly 100 hours these volunteers have to put in to serve Hardin county.
"You have to do a sixteen hour orientation, which in this county we've bumped up to 24 hours to get you involved into the department and what goes on. Then you have a 64 hour class and then you can go to the state academy and do your live burn."
With twenty three stations across the county, the department needs volunteers to survive and serve the county.
"We really depend completely on volunteers."
So what drives these people to want to volunteer their time and energy and potentially their lives to the department? The simple joy of helping those in need.
"The relief in their eyes when you pull up on the scene and the relief in their eye when you go we put it out, your incarnates are the only thing that is tore up. We're helping the people and that's what I want to do."
For some of the volunteers at Hardin County Fire, its not just helping the public that brings them back. It's helping others along side people they consider family.
"When you start to work together, you fight fire, you train together you get to know each other and even though you give people a hard time, I don't want anything to happen to these guys. I love them that much, I just can't imagine life without them."
For the department, they have forged an incredible bond amongst their volunteers. That bond and excitement for the job also serves as their main recruiting tool.
"Our best recruiting is our volunteers telling their friends and neighbors. Word of mouth and getting it out."
Chief Martin says volunteer departments in Tennessee have to recruit year round because of the fluid nature of the position.
We add volunteers every year but we also lose some. People move, people get different jobs so we're always looking for volunteers.
For the members of Hardin County Fire, they are proud of what they do and for many they have no regrets about giving their times and potentially their lives for the people they serve.
"I'm glad I did it, I am glad I did it. These guys, they're phenomenal.: