Potter County reimburses volunteer firefighters

This year especially, with all they've done fighting grassfires, firefighters everywhere have earned and deserve our thanks.

Many volunteer firefighters risk their lives, and don't get paid as much as you'd think.

In fact, those crews in Potter County don't get a dime, but that's about to change.

Potter County has discussed this issue for years, and it now has a program in place.

The Potter County Fire Department will now issue reimbursement checks to their volunteers.

According to Potter County Fire Marshal Richard Lake, they researched what other stations were doing, from paying call by call to issuing fuel stipends to volunteer firefighters.

"We figure that volunteers use quite a bit of their own fuel to not only run calls but to go to training, to go to station functions and station duties and several other tasks they're involved with being a volunteer fire fighter."

At the end of the year those volunteers receive checks to cover some of what they've spent throughout the year.

The interesting part of this is, the fact that this is the first year they will get such reimbursements.

"Me and the judge, and the commissioners have been talking about it for a few years, especially when we had the fuel crunch of 2007 when we had a lot of member just leaving the department cause they couldn't afford to be here anymore."

With this year being busier than most years, Lake says they couldn't do it without their volunteers.

"By having volunteer fireman over paid fireman, Potter County saves millions upon millions of dollars a year by having a combination fire department, so it TMs very beneficial to the community to have people that are willing to perform that service for free."

Lake went on to say, the public doesn't see the extra hours volunteers spend behind the scenes.

One thing they do is make sure their equipment and gear are clean, so they can be prepped and ready for the next call.