LAVELLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— Inflation is making a big impact on our everyday lives, that includes volunteer fire departments.

“It’s pretty well dangerous. Because if you get a fire you’ll have no one going right away,” said Russel Hummel, fire chief of the Lavelle Volunteer Fire Company (LVFC).

The LVFC in Schuylkill County had to “scratch” a call earlier this month, meaning no volunteers were available to respond.

Their mutual aid partners responded and it ended up being a minor call, but it served as a reality check.

“Volunteer fire departments in our area have a hard enough time finding people without an economic situation like we’re in. So when it gets even worse, people have to allocate time to commit to the stuff,” Kenny Marlow, president & volunteer firefighter at the LVFC explained.

Many volunteer firefighters are not available to run calls due to the direct impact of inflation

“Oh my goodness it’s affecting us all. Most of us work second jobs. That takes us away from the time that we get to spend on the trucks. If we’re not in the area, we don’t get out,” KB Smallwood, a volunteer firefighter and EMT, told Eyewitness News.

“It entails a lot of your sacrifice for a lot of people. A lot of people right now you have to work two jobs. People are trying to make it on two incomes instead of one. 10 years ago we could survive on a single income, now you need two to survive,” said Malcolm Johnston, a volunteer firefighter.

An issue that can quickly become dangerous when a fire erupts in the area.

“We are a small village fire company here. Any time that we have a point of need, we are providing the same service as any of the biggest towns or the most well-resourced fire companies, but if we’re going to be taking our engine out, we would like to have a minimum staffing of four volunteers on the truck and we try to get it out in less than five minutes. Sometimes are able to do that, sometimes we’re not,” explained Jeremy Smallwood, the assistant fire chief of the LVFC.

They started taking junior members at 14 years old and will provide the equipment essential for training, but volunteering still comes at a cost.

“We pay for our own gas and our vehicles, to go to these calls. A lot of our equipment, the company supplies us with what we need, but if you want something different or something new or something out there, a lot of that equipment is coming out of our pocket,” Johnston added.

Volunteer firefighters are reaching out to the community for help, and your donations could help could save a life.