More interest in volunteer firefighting after Creek Co. blazes

TULSA - The bravery firefighters showed while battling recent wildfires in Creek County, has sparked a lot of interest in people who want to join them as volunteers.

"We've had quite a bit of interest. We've had 12 to 15 applications turned in," said Brett Lunsford, assistant fire chief for Drumright.

Lunsford said the sudden wave of interest is not surprising to him.

"Six or seven years ago we went through the same thing. We had a big fire so we had 10 or 12 guys who applied," said Lunsford.

It's not just Drumright.

Freedom Hill, Silver City and Olive fire departments experienced a similar flood of applications.

Olive's fire chief, Tim Howard, said people started expressing interest before the wildfires were even out.

Howard said one man, who was interested in joining, approached him while he was re-fueling his fire truck at a gas station.

"He was wanting to volunteer right then and get in the truck and go, but of course we have procedures that we go through," said Howard.

Not everyone can become a volunteer firefighter. Applicants must meet certain requirements before they are able to suit up.

The requirements vary from department to department.

For instance, because Drumright has both paid and volunteer staff, all of its firefighters must pass a state-mandated physical agility test.

There's no such requirement for all-volunteer departments like Olive.

Regardless, all candidates must show they're able to do the job.

"There's a lot of physical strain and stress in this job. We try to make sure that before we put them on we cover that ground and question them to make sure they're up to [it]," said Howard.

As for pay, some volunteer firefighters are paid per run. Others aren't paid at all for their service.

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