WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — Two local volunteer fire companies transformed an overpass in Winchester into the scene of a car accident, but it wasn’t for training purposes.
Winchester Fire and Rescue as well as Frederick County Fire and Rescue are assisting in the production of a public service announcement that will be featured in a statewide recruitment video.
Nick Caputo is a retired deputy fire chief who now serves as the Volunteer Workforce Solutions Program Manager for the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association. He stated the organization is working with volunteer companies across the state to improve recruitment efforts.
“This video will show basically a vehicle accident, a stage vehicle accident, and it’ll be a part of many scenes for the public service video,” Caputo said. “One of our strategic goals was to try to assist local fire departments in the recruitment and retention of volunteers to help meet the fire service needs of the local communities.”
Caputo has been working alongside JeffInHighDef, a professional production and broadcast company that works with volunteer fire companies, to shoot segments needed for the video. The video will include other volunteer fire companies from across the state and Caputo stressed he is grateful that the two volunteer fire companies were so willing to lend their firefighters to the production.
Funding for the video comes from a FEMA SAFER grant geared towards improving recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant helps firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
Winchester Fire and Rescue Chief Jon Henschel explained that his company and others across the nation have experienced a shortage of volunteer firefighters and EMS providers. He was more than willing to provide any assistance to the recruitment efforts.
“There is a national shortage of volunteer firefighters and ems providers. It’s been hitting us for a number of years now and they certainly provide a service that is second to none, certainly in this area,” Chief Henschel said. “We’re hopeful that we can showcase their talents today and that will attract new volunteers in our system to help provide the great service to have.”
The production crew has already shot several components of the video in multiple locations in Virginia and when completed, the video will be used by fire companies across the state.
If you are interested in volunteering with your local Virginia fire company, please visit the Virginia Everyday Heroes website.