JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Numbers were released last week showing the need for more volunteer firefighters in Jones County.
"We had over 6,000 requests for service in Jones county last year," Public information Officer Caleb Worrell said.
The importance of volunteer firefighters across the nation has become a highly debated discussion.
"City departments do not respond to the county," Worrell said. "We need volunteer firefighters to access those rural areas across the county because without them, a lot of people would be stranded. Their houses would burn to the ground, and there would be a lot more injuries and fatalities as a result."
The volunteer department only has 345 firefighters in the department. Worrell said a lot of the volunteers work during the day, so that restricts those volunteers from responding during daytime hours.
A common misconception is that volunteers do not receive as many calls as city firefighters.
"That's not true. Volunteers get a lot of calls, and those numbers express that to us," Worrell said.
Fires are not the only thing that the volunteers respond to. They also respond to car accidents as well.
"We're servicing a county population of over 70,000 people so 6,000 calls with only 345 firefighters just isn't enough. We need more volunteers," Worrell said.
The overall number of volunteer firefighters has decreased across the nation. He said one of two things will happen if the number of volunteers does not increase.
"We will have to hire paid firefighters to serve in volunteer fire departments or the cost of insurance on homes will increase," Worrell said.