“We’ve got about 20 members right now, but we need all we can get,” he said. “It’s a volunteer position, so there’s no pay, which scares some people off. But you just fill out an application, get voted in and you’re in. We’re also accepting donations for new vehicles and equipment.”
Watts said the squad will be hosting a fundraising road block on the square Oct. 19 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Full membership is open to anyone over the age of 18. There is also a junior program for those 16 or over with parental consent. Juniors can train and work on the equipment but cannot respond to calls, Watts said.
The squad offers certification training in CPR and boat license.
The purpose of the squad is to help the city, the county or the Chamber of Commerce in any ways they can. “We help search for lost people, and people who might have drowned in floods. During the last big flood in the city, we were out from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., working with the city and county, getting people out of their houses, bringing them to safety. If there is snow and ice, we will help the nurses get to the hospital and the nursing home, and then get them back home safely. We’ve helped Cheaha Mental Health get patients back and forth to Birmingham. We can do pretty much anything that you don’t need an ambulance for. People may not always see us, but we want them to know we are always here. We’re here to help, and they can reach us 24/7.”
Currently all of the squad’s vehicles and equipment are still in good working order, but are largely out of date and becoming more difficult to service. Anyone wishing to make a contribution or to directly contribute equipment (especially four-wheelers and chain saws) is encouraged to do so.
Watts said the squad’s greatest benefactor is the city of Talladega itself, and he was particularly appreciative of the work of city manager Brian Muenger and Mayor Larry Barton in making sure they got some funding.
Watts said he is co-captain with Ralph Wallace.
For more information, contact Watts at 256-362-7326.
Contact Chris Norwood at email@example.com.