Life-Blood Taken Away?

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

Many firefighters in our area say protecting others is in their blood. That's why many are also members of military reserve units.

"I understand the need for them to serve their country, but it also puts us at a disadvantage." Captain Steve Meilahn said.

Meilahn is no stranger to duty. He is a detective with the Everest Metro police department and also the captain of the Weston Fire Department. But Meilahn says he still doesn't want to lose valuable members of his department to military service.

"It does take a long time to train the personnel in fire and emergency medical services." Meilahn said.

Meilahn says his department would be taking a hit if even the one reservist he has is called up, but smaller organizations would feel the impact much more.

"If you're looking at a department that would rely on all volunteers, and if they have a large, large staff that is lost due to the call up, that will effectively destroy the department."

The 18-year veteran of the Weston department says public safety would not be threatened, however. He says if there were a shortage on volunteers, they would just have to depend more on mutual aid from surrounding areas. He says it typically takes about 60 hours to train someone to be a firefighter.