Firefighters do more than just put out fires


There are three separate fire departments that cover the Freedom Area School District.

Natalie Dubovi, Staff Writer

Firefighters do a lot more than just put out fires. They put their lives on the line every single day to keep their community safe.

“The fire department not only puts out fires, we get people out of wrecked cars and cut up trees when they are on the roads. Also, if you have a flooded basement, we’ll drain it and we help on QRS calls. If someone were to get stuck on or under something, or if large animals can’t get up, we help them,” senior Selena Bittenbender said, who has been a volunteer firefighter for two years.

There has been a decline in fires in the United States since 1977, which is when the National Fire Protection Association started keeping track. In 1977, there were roughly 3.3 million fires across the country compared to 1.2 million fires in 2013. Car manufacturers can be credited for the reduced vehicle fires, increased municipal restrictions on open burning of leaves and trash can be credited for the decline in outdoor fires and stricter fire codes, better enforcement of those codes, fireproof materials and the increased public knowledge of fire safety and prevention tips can be credited for the decreased house fires.

Although there had been a decline in fires, there has not been a decline in how much the firefighters work.

Firefighters are oftentimes the first responders to medical calls. Sometimes the fire department can get places quicker than an ambulance which could ultimately save a life.

They also educate the community on fire safety. The local fire departments go into the elementary school once a year to teach kids about fire safety. They teach the students the importance of having a meeting spot in case their house catches on fire, the importance of checking their fire alarms at their house and how to stop, drop and roll if they were to ever catch on fire.

The fire department is always ready for an emergency. They work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no days off which can cause them to have to sacrifice time away from their families for the safety of the community.

There are three fire departments within the Freedom Area: Big Knob, Conway and Freedom. Many people think that only men can be firefighters, but that isn’t the case.

“I feel like I’ve made a positive impact on the community by showing that not only guys can be in the fire department and help people, girls can do anything the guys can as long as you put your mind to it,” Bittenbender said.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, feel free to contact your local fire department because they are always looking for help.