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Bridgeport Charter Township is looking for paid on-call volunteer firefighters.

Paid on-call volunteer firefighters is just that. They are paid to volunteer their time, when they are available, to respond to calls.

The most recent structure fire in Bridgeport Township brought about some concerns and questions as to the time it took our firefighters to respond. Please keep in mind when experiencing an emergency, you want someone there immediately and what could be 5 minutes seems like hours.

This recent fire took place on a Saturday morning. At the time of the call into 911 it was noted the garage was fully involved. No one was at the fire station when the call came in. We had 4 personnel respond on the first fire truck. It took 9 minutes and 55 seconds for our firefighters to leave their homes or wherever they were at when the call came in, arrive at the fire station, gear up, start the fire engine and arrive on scene. The second and third engines arrived approximately 4 minutes later with 2 personnel on each truck. Spaulding and Frankenmuth was called in to assist.

The situation we face is this:

Our single fire station is only staffed Monday – Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (excluding holidays) by three full-time personnel. The remaining time, we rely on paid on-call volunteers. (We do not have staff at the station 24/7.) These firefighters voluntarily respond. When they respond, they are paid a modest hourly rate. Our average response time to an incident when full-time personnel are on duty is 5 minutes. This time doubles during the hours when we rely on volunteers. They are not at the station when calls come in. The three full-time personnel also respond after hours.

Fire department response times are affected by several variables:

  • Time it takes for the problem to be identified and 911 called.
  • Time it takes for personnel to respond to the station. This is impacted by time of day, day of week, and travel distance.
  • Weather and road conditions (snow, ice, flooding, poor roads).
  • Travel distance to incident location.

Personnel response is impacted by the following variables:

  • Time of day (sleeping versus awake).
  • Day of week (working or at home).
  • Weather (clearing snow off vehicle, road conditions).
  • Activity (a firefighter may not be able to simply drop what they are doing to respond).
  • Availability (being home does not equate to being available).

We thank our Bridgeport Township Fire Department staff and paid on-call volunteer firefighters. They are highly trained and we couldn’t ask for a better group of guys that drop everything and come, when they are available, to provide for all of us whatever assistance is needed in our community. If anyone would be interested in obtaining information on what is all involved in becoming a paid on-call volunteer firefighter, please contact our Fire Department at (989) 777-2400. (This is a non-emergency number.)