Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Mullins
The NVFC regularly spotlights fire service volunteers and the great work they do in our communities. In this spotlight, we talked with NVFC member Sara Mullins, a firefighter with the Strasburg Fire Protection District in Highlands, CO. Thank you to Sara and all those who serve!
Name: Sara Mullins
Department Name: Strasburg Fire Protection District
Location: Highlands, CO
Why are you an NVFC member?
Originally, it was to be able to access resources for volunteer fire departments, but I found so much more. The NVFC showed me that the brotherhood just isn’t in your own department, but every department. Volunteer Voices has been fantastic for sharing ideas with others, learning from others, and helping each our departments grow to meet their highest potential. The NVFC really takes care of its own, and I’m proud I joined.
Why are you a fire service volunteer?
Originally, I was a just a new mom trying to keep my training and certifications alive until my babies were older and I could return to work full time as an EMT. I found volunteering so rewarding, I grew my skills and stepped up to help reshape my local department into something new and beneficial to both the firefighters who work there and the community. Now, I’m a lifer.
What year did you join the fire or emergency services?
What are your memorable moments as a firefighter or EMS provider?
My first structure fire. You never forget your first. During a pretty nasty basement fire, I went in with the second team as the nozzleman only days after graduating academy. Being slightly nearsighted, I typically wear glasses, and in academy, I was counseled not to worry about it with a mask on because you can’t see much in a structure fire anyway, so I just kept my glasses in the engine. Well, I learned quickly that being able to tell the difference between red paint and red embers of extension was actually a necessary skill. Anything red in that basement I pretty much obliterated it with the attack line. We put out the fire and actually saved the upper floors of the home, so it wasn’t a total loss. After that day, I knew my heart was in the right profession and where it needed to be. Also, I became really committed to finding a way to see with a mask on because in hindsight, while the method was effective, it probably wasn’t the most efficient. I have glasses built into my SCBA mask now.
What contributions have you (and your department) made in your community?
I tried my hand at grant writing since our community was too small to bear the weight of a large, $1 million levy increase to meet our needs. Turns out, I’m not half bad at it! So far, I have been able to acquire one new ambulance, one LED sign in the front yard for communications, funding for both public and internal web sites, training costs for new recruits, new crew room renovation, and diesel exhaust removal system for the apparatus bays.
Interested in serving your community? Find volunteer fire service opportunities at www.makemeafirefighter.org.