The time firefighters take to arrive on scene is crucial to saving lives.

"We've got the best in the world here, but when you're talking about response times, the difference between coming form home, getting into a truck and going out, there is a big difference," says fire chief Don Graham.

On average, the response time for a volunteer firefighter is 11 minutes. The time is slashed in half for a paid fireman.

There are currently two full-time paid firefighters at the stations off Highway 49 and near River North. One of them, is Robbie Herndon.

"Volunteering for the fire department is a way of life. It's something you do around the clock, 24/7," he said.

Besides saving lives, Herndon also runs a home business and works in realty. The stations need the most help during the week day when volunteers work their day job.

So Graham recruited another paid firefighter to man a station downtown.The third full-time firefighter will start November 1st.

"We're out the door in 30 seconds when we have a man or woman already here and that makes a difference," Graham said.

Jones County has 157 firefighters and all but two are unpaid volunteers.

The other two are paid by the hour from eight to five and make about $20,000 a year.

"I think I got 16 more years before retirement so I think i'll be here for a very long time," said Herndon.

Finding a way to save on minutes, will hopefully save more lives.

Read or Share this story: