California Fire Volunteer
In 1984, about 19,000 volunteer firefighters staffed stations across the state; today, the numbers have decreased to just around 10,000. For many parts of the state, the loss of volunteer teams could have devastating impacts.
“If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Lethal Weapon,’ you know Martin Riggs lives on the beach with his dog and his truck and a camper,” he said. “That was my choice. That was like, ‘if I can do that, and work in a drug task force, I’d be stoked.'”
Then, his friends convinced him to join a local fire department in San Clemente, Calif., as a volunteer firefighter. At first, he said he stayed on the job for the adrenaline rush. But then that San Clemente volunteer job led to jobs in Chicago and two other southern California fire departments.