Golden Valley seeks<BR>volunteer firefighters

The rapid growth of Golden Valley during the past 15 years has resulted in a dire need of more volunteer firefighters.

Fire chief Harold Nystedt said when he began working for Golden Valley Fire Department during the mid-1980s, there were only 2,500 people living in the unincorporated area.

Today, there are between 8,000 and 9,000 residents, he said.

Nystedt has only six volunteers helping 15 paid firefighters but needs at least nine more, he said.

"It's getting to the point where we get two or three calls at one time.

It just stretches our resources way beyond what we can handle," he added.

"One house fire uses all of our resources."

During the past month alone, Golden Valley Fire Department had two scenarios that required multiple responses.

One was two house fires and a medical call within a half hour.

Another involved a house fire and three medical calls within two hours.

During the first situation, Golden Valley asked the Kingman Fire Department to put out a house fire.

In the second situation, firefighters responded to the house fire and "knocked it down," but half the crew had to leave on a medical call before the fire was extinguished.

The fire crew was further reduced when another medical call came in, said Nystedt.

Nystedt, who became fire chief in 1990, notes the stress caused by fighting a fire.

"When they're working a fire, they get pretty tired.

It really taxes a guy."

Golden Valley has five paid firefighters on duty each day, working 24-hour shifts.

There are three firefighters at Station No.

1 and two at Station No.

2.

Volunteers aid the paid firefighters when they go on calls.

Nystedt said volunteers receive 20 hours of training in a "mini-academy" when they first sign up and receive additional training throughout the year.

The fire department pays volunteers' tuition for 240 hours of training at the state-sponsored firefighter academy and at least 100 hours of emergency medical training at community colleges.

Volunteers are not required to complete firefighter academy or EMT training, however.

In addition to needing volunteer firefighters, Golden Valley Fire Department has an opening on its fire district governing board.

Noel LaBonte resigned from the five-person board on Tuesday.

An appointee will finish his four-year term.

Applications for board members are available for those interested in the post.

For information, call 565-3479.