Guilford County, NC -- There's a good chance if you have a fire at your house, a volunteer firefighter will be part of the response. According to FEMA 72% of North Carolina firefighters are volunteers. The issue is, the number of volunteers is declining between 11% -12% a year.

Chief Brian Causey with the Guil-Rand Fire Department says, “We don't have an influx of volunteers like in the past. People don’t seem to have time between work and families.”

Firefighters, both staff and volunteers at the Guil-Rand Fire Department, cover two cities and two counties. They certainly could use more volunteers but they aren’t the only ones.

A common misconception is that all volunteers need to be able to go into a burning building. Not so! There are volunteer opportunities for all skill levels --from fighting fires to administrative work.

The requirements for departments vary. For instance, the Guil-Rand department has a junior program for individuals 16 years of age and still in school. Some departments only offer the regular firefighter program which requires individuals to be 18 years old and either graduated from high school or have a GED. There are a few departments in NC that take individuals as young as 14 years old

You can find other basic info here: http://www.volunteerfirenc.org/index.php/volunteer-now/ and call your local department to find out what opportunities are open to you.