Stafford County Emergency Services is ramping up recruitment efforts for the Radium fire station to address staffing shortages that threaten to close it, Stafford County Fire Director Marshall Sander said.
Back on Dec. 4, following a meeting with Stafford County fire chiefs, Stafford County Commissioners initially discussed the possibility of closing the station in the small northwest Stafford County community for lack of response personnel after review of 2019 emergency call logs. However, Sanders told the Great Bend Tribune on Monday that closing the Radium station has been ruled out at this time.
The commission instead is choosing to focus its efforts on recruiting additional firefighters for the volunteer-only fire station. The Radium station currently has only two firefighters, according to Sanders.
The call log review determined only a single firefighter responded to two calls of the 13 paged out to the Radium fire station this year.
Sanders said the current shortage impacts fire protection throughout the county.
“We have to pull other departments from further away; it puts a strain on other departments and on fire protection,” he said. “It could be an additional 10 to 20 minutes before another department can get on scene (in that area).”
According to Sanders, recruitment efforts have focused on speaking with residents living in the Radium area. Four or five residents had expressed interest in joining the department as of Monday, he said, though he indicated there is no set number on how many additional firefighters the department is seeking to recruit.
Sanders said there have already been meetings with some potential recruits and efforts are being made to put together a time to meet with others. He said there is no set timetable for such a meeting, though, due to tight holiday schedules.
Depending on the success of the recruitment efforts, Sanders said the future of the station could still be reevaluated down the road by himself, Stafford County fire directors and the Stafford County Commission.