By Rebekah Rae. CREATED Jul 26, 2014
Ashland, NE - It's a battle fire departments across the country are trying to win, fighting fires and fighting to stay operational.
With little money and fewer volunteers, Ashland fire department asked residents to join their department for lunch. The small town crowded the fire department as a way to say thanks for years of life saving, hard work.
"We have probably some of the best fire equipment around, we put everything towards that," said fire fighter Michael Meyer. The lunch helps pays for the life-saving equipment.
Similar to small-town volunteer based departments across the country, in Ashland, revenue is tight. Volunteers are just as hard to come by. "Volunteers are less and less every year so it's a battle we fight all the time," said Meyer.
It's not only a tough job, it's dangerous and it's hot work. While they struggle to gain volunteers, Ashland's fire department does have a bit of help. The Nebraska forestry service allows struggling departments to lease equipment rather than buy.
In 2013 the department was able to add an aerial truck for the first time in the departments history. New, the truck would cost the department one million dollars, instead they were able to rent it for $2,500.
Making Ashland safer and possibly the perk would-be fire fighters are looking for to join. "We don't have a huge community to bring people in to the department so we'll get whatever we can get."
Departments surrounding the metro are looking for volunteers. If you think you have what it takes, stop by your local volunteer department and ask how to join.