By Ben Lawson
Firefighter Rob Taylor has spent 11 years in the fire service, both with civilian departments and the military. For him, service runs in the family.
Originally from Seymour, Taylor’s parents were police officers, leading him to eye a career in public service, too.
“I come from a public safety family,” he said.
While he also has some experience with law enforcement having helped train K-9 dogs, firefighting became his focus. He serves full time with the Air National Guard and spent four years with the Air Force, including work in Iraq as a contract firefighter.
“That was a different world, a different experience,” he said. “It was a good time.”
The differences between working in Iraq and the U.S. were extreme, including the language barrier, structural differences on military bases and contending with live ammunition on aircraft. Nevertheless, he said he’d be willing to go back.
Having spent the last six months with the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department, Taylor divides his time between training and fielding the rapidly expanding number of calls. Firefighters train on a constant basis, both with equipment and to familiarize themselves with their area of service.
Being field rated in a huge variety of skill sets took Taylor close to 2,500 hours of training. That doesn’t include the 700 hours he spent teaching other recruits in the last year alone.
With Seymour growing exponentially each year, the amount of work these firefighters see grows, too.
“The call volume is becoming substantial,” Taylor said.
That means more funds are needed to support the department and the staff. For just basic equipment, Taylor said it takes $3,000 to outfit a single firefighter. While they do receive donations, a lot of residents still appear unaware that the department is made up of volunteers. If the trend continues, Taylor surmised that a full time, paid department would be necessary in the near future.
“If everybody in the community were to donate, we would be outstanding. But that means everybody,” he said.
Public Safety Runs in the Family
By Ben Lawson