As an all-volunteer organization, Southampton Fire Company counts on its members to keep it running smoothly.
“It takes a large group of volunteers working together to run a fire department. It’s like running a business and there’s a lot to keep it operating,” said Hanne Stahl, treasurer.
“Not everyone needs to run into a burning building to support the fire company. There are many opportunities where volunteers can support the fire company and the community through non-firefighting roles.”
There are executive positions, administrative positions and general support roles that involve everything from administrative tasks, bookkeeping, and more physical responsibilities such as maintaining the building, vehicles, and property. Volunteers also assist with annual events like the Santa Run, fire prevention activities, Fourth of July parade, Southampton Days, and Centennial School District events.
“Volunteers help at events whenever they are available,” said Stahl. “The Fourth of July parade is a pretty unique experience. We walk from one end of town to the other and see everyone supporting us and clapping for us.”
Stahl currently serves as fire company treasurer and attends training sessions that interest her when she can, enjoying the camaraderie and friendship that comes with her years of service. She became a firefighter in the mid-1990s in North Carolina, where she also served as an assistant chief and treasurer. When she moved to Southampton in 2007, Stahl says it was an easy decision to join the fire company, where her late husband served for 50 years.
“I enjoy just being able to give back to the community,” said Stahl. “People need help and we’re able to be there for them.”
She is also an EMT and CPR instructor, and even worked as a wildland firefighter for the NC Forest Service and as an emergency services dispatcher.
“My whole life has been centered around fire, EMS, and safety,” said Stahl. “Firefighting led to my full-time career as a safety manager. Looking out for people and making sure they are safe transitioned into a safety profession.”
Stahl volunteers with her son, Andrew, who is employed as a police officer. He has been helping with administrative duties at the fire company and researching grant opportunities. Andrew has also been a “victim” during various training sessions.
Southampton Fire Company is always seeking new volunteers to help out at the station as an administrative or support member, or fill the shoes of firefighter, junior firefighter or fire police.
“We welcome everyone who comes and joins us,” said Stahl. “We appreciate everyone’s skills that they bring from their different backgrounds.”
The attributes of volunteers who are needed is “someone who is willing to step in and work, willing to learn, and enjoys operating in a team-based atmosphere” said Stahl. “You have to be in it to help others.”
No experience is necessary to join Southampton Fire Company. Training and gear are provided, and volunteers can join as young as 14.
To learn more about volunteering or fill out a no-obligation inquiry form, visit https://joinsouthamptonfire.org/.