El Paso, TX (KTSM) — The Horizon Fire Department is announcing a new move towards their volunteer stipend program. With an increase in local emergency calls, the demand for the need of volunteers has increased.

The Emergency Service District No. 1 in Horizon has increased their number of volunteers over the years which has resulted in their stipend program now being full time. The change from a volunteer department to a combination department will feature both staff paid full-time and volunteers.

“The community is not going to see much of a change because we’ve always been here,” says Horizon Fire Fighter Chief Kris Mendez.

The department recognized its high demands came from how fast the Horizon community grew. The numbers they currently have is 48 and the max they can have is 75.

“Our firefighters have been full filling their duties, the volunteers have been doing a fantastic job in the community, but what’s going to change now is the level of care. We’re requiring that they all become paramedics so we will be an all-paramedic department, which is the only one in this region currently.”

The transition to being a combination department has become the department’s goal.

“Our goal is to have volunteers who will serve full time for 25 plus years,” Chief Mendez mentioned further.

Those who are interested in helping their community and becoming a volunteer firefighter can apply during their operational hours or apply at the link: https://www.epcesd1.com/horizon-fire-department/