QUANTICO MARINE CORPS BASE, Va. --
When Spotsylvania County Fire Department announced their need for volunteer firefighters, Travis Prien, safety specialist at Quantico Safety Division, didn’t hesitate to sign up.
He is one of nearly a dozen base civilian, active duty and retired personnel who offered their services to the neighboring county.
With more than 20 years of combined experience serving as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of King George County, Va., and with Quantico’s fire department, Prien said answering the “call” was instinctive. Although he stepped down from fire services at Quantico in 2012, Prien admitted that it’s difficult to stay away from a passion.
“I came back [to be a firefighter] because I still enjoy volunteering and helping people,” he said.
His breadth of rescue experience extends beyond volunteerism.
“A lot of what I do in my day-to-day job is very parallel to the fire service,” Prien said. “I train base personnel on how to self-rescue or assist a rescue until emergency services arrive. I also oversee the Multi-Gas Meter, which is what we use [at different areas on the base] to test atmospheric [chemicals] in a confined space to see if there’s any immediate hazards [like methane] before we enter.”
H. Monty Willaford, fire chief for Spotsylvania County, said the department is fortunate to have volunteers from Quantico, but the immense support from the base doesn’t shock him.
“It’s not surprising that members of the armed forces or federal [employees] would decide to give back to their communities through service in a similar manner to the way their have committed their livelihoods [to the Department of Defense],” Willaford said.
Volunteer responders, work side by side with career responders, providing around the clock staffing at all 10 county fire and rescue stations. Willaford said their dedication to service promotes safety, decreases response time and increases efficiency.
The county is actively recruiting volunteers for fire and rescue stations throughout Spotsylvania County. Experience isn’t necessary, as volunteers will receive free, professional training to certify as an Emergency Medical Technician, paramedic, firefighter, or ambulance driver. To inquire about volunteer opportunities, call 540-582-3473.
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