Why doesn't Medford Fire consider using interns or volunteers? They are always asking for money to pay for manpower.

Why doesn't Medford Fire consider using interns or volunteers? They are always asking for money to pay for manpower.

It seems like they would have the personnel to respond to all of the calls that they don't respond to now. They appear to be the only fire department in Southern Oregon that doesn't respond to public assists.

— Dale W., Medford

It's not as if the Medford Fire Department hasn't considered using volunteers to bolster manpower, but the reality is that it just isn't cost effective, according to Battalion Chief Brian Fish.

"By the time you figure in the amount it takes to train volunteers to ensure that they can safely handle a fire, the cost runs too high," Fish said.

Volunteers begin with seven weekends of training and that's just the start. Training requirements continue to increase, Fish said.

Also, the amount of time a volunteer has to devote to the department is quite high. And since most volunteers have jobs outside of the fire department, the time commitment is simply too much for most volunteers, Fish said.

"Volunteer programs are dwindling throughout Oregon," he said. "It's too much for most people to handle. And it's costly to get them up to speed only to have them to quit."