WAXHAW, NC – The Waxhaw Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) hosted an open house on Saturday October 4, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The open house featured food, face painting, demonstrations, and a tent full of puppies from the South Charlotte Dog Rescue. The afternoon’s weather was gorgeous and helped provide an amazing turnout from the local community. Chief Sharpe was spotted manning the grill and passing out hot dogs while the other members of the team worked together to make the event a huge success. It was also a great opportunity for the VFD to get the word out about the need for more Volunteers.
Gregory Sharpe, Fire Chief of the Waxhaw Community Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc, explains what it takes to become a firefighter. “To become a firefighter with the Waxhaw VFD, a person must gain certification as a North Carolina Firefighter through the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal,” says Sharpe. “To gain certification a person must attend classes at a community college. This can take as little as 12 weeks if they go to a college offering an ‘academy’ where they attend Monday through Friday all day for the 12 weeks, or it could take more than a year taking classes one at a time as they become available. Once certified, they must complete a minimum of 36 hours per year of continuing education and meet all minimum guidelines of the fire department for activity, which includes staffing the station once a week.” Chief Sharpe adds that candidates don’t need to have any sort of specific background but must be able to pass a background check.
Part of the search for the new volunteers is motivated by the coming expansion of Waxhaw’s Fire Department. They are currently renovating the sub-station by JAARS to support 24/7 staff, and they are looking to add a station to Waxhaw Creek Road. They have started looking at adding a station to the north end of the Waxhaw area as well.
“Our shifts run for 12 hours from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM and 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM,” explains Sharpe. “Our shifts involve making sure the trucks are ready to respond to whatever calls we may get during the shift, responding to all calls for service during the shift, cleaning and maintaining the stations, physical fitness training, and fire and EMS training. We also eat meals together and may get some time to relax depending on the call volume during the shift. We are always looking for more volunteer and part-time members to cover the shifts. We are in the process of selecting a vendor to design and build two new stations in the next five years. This will require a significant increase in the number of certified members we will need to cover the additional stations and the new tower truck we have going in service in the next month.”
“The department is always trying to keep up with the growth in our community and to make sure we can meet the standards the community expects of us,” says Sharpe. “If anyone is interested in joining our department, they can fill out an application on our website or stop by the fire station to put in an application. People are always welcome to stop by to obtain additional information as to how to volunteer.”
You can reach the Waxhaw Community Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad online at www.waxhawvfd.org or call (704) 843-4001 for more information.