February 23, 2005
"When you actually help somebody it makes it all worth while," said Captain Jeff Snead of Albemarle County Fire & Rescue. Snead is 28 and has been a fire fighter since he was 13. "Growing up it was always in the family and I would go with my dad to the firehouse and I'd go to the Charlottesville fire department," he added.
The Albemarle County fire department recently had four openings and over thirty people tested for the positions. In Charlottesville the story is much the same; open positions are few and far between.
"I think it's the greatest job in the world. It's a job that's not 9 to 5 or behind a desk. It's exciting and being able to help the community," said Captain Rich Jones of the Charlottesville Fire Department.
Charlottesville has a full time paid staff of ninety-four. Albemarle County is a little different. They have 300 volunteers and just 50 paid positions.
The county requires a firefighter to go through over 400 hours of training, take a written test and a physical test. "I think what cures us of that general fear is the amount of training we do, we would never send someone in there that wasn't trained properly," said Jeremy Graybill of the Charlottesville Fire Department.
The firefighter motto is 'We risk everything to save everything'. "I have saved a few lives and I saved the life of young girl because I was there and I was trained and I was doing what I get paid to do," said Mick Pitt of Albemarle County Fire & Rescue. Whether volunteer or paid, it's the bond of brotherhood and the love of the job that keeps fire departments in this community fully staffed.