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Get To Know The Volunteer Firefighter

As a young boy, Steve Homrich stood in awe every time the sirens blared and lights flashed from his hometown fire engine roaring down the street. It was an adrenaline rush he chased all through childhood: someone’s life or property needed saving. 

After relocating to Williamson County for his job at Saturn in Spring Hill, his head remained on a swivel every time a fire engine sounded. It wasn’t until a newspaper clipping caught his eye one momentous day that his future was solidified. 

“The newspaper said that Williamson County was looking for volunteer firefighters, and that’s all it took for me,” says Steve, who has now been a firefighter since 1994. 

Williamson Fire-Rescue is the partnership between the Williamson County government and the volunteer fire departments that serve the unincorporated areas of Williamson County – including Thompson’s Station. 

All on a volunteer basis, recruits undergo four classes after joining: emergency services, hazardous materials, medical response and firefighting. As recruits progress through training, there is opportunity to take on more responsibility on a given scene; though rest assured, any emergency has a chain of command with seasoned officers and dedicated leaders providing direction and support. 

“We always have trainings in the evenings or on weekends where we teach new skills like learning how to extricate a person [from a vehicle] or providing medical services,” Steve shares. “When you join, you get drawn into this organization with so many opportunities to help.” 

One particularly impactful moment for Steve came on the heels of a cardiac arrest call years ago. Steve shared, “We entered the house, and the patient’s wife was across the room holding their brand new baby. We went to work providing lifesaving care. As it turns out, the patient’s father was a county commissioner who fought for and founded emergency services in Williamson County.” 

The patient’s father didn’t know at the time what his support would mean for his future family, or for the county as a whole. 

“Our job is to mitigate loss of life and preservation of property, and to bring some calm for people who are not having a good day,” Steve shared. “We try to set our county up for tomorrow.”

Beyond suiting up and fighting structure fires, the organization also has space for other responsibilities. Take Box 94, a group of volunteers dedicated to providing respite care for firefighters and personnel while on scene. The Box 94 apparatus is stocked with a fridge and freezer to provide nourishment, extendable hoods for weather protection and clean equipment for firefighters to stay safe while on the job. 

Run by 501c3 non-profits, including the Williamson County Rescue Squad and Williamson Fire/Rescue most prominently supporting Thompson’s Station, each are also seeking volunteers to serve in leadership roles such as secretary or treasurer. In addition, any monetary contribution directly supports equipment and operating costs for the volunteer firefighters. 

Now, nearly 30 years after joining, Steve works with the Williamson County Office of Public Safety as a captain. And as for the cardiac arrest patient?

“We’re friends on Facebook now, and every year, I get to wish him a happy birthday,” Steve added. 

For more information on joining the fire service as a volunteer, visit

Volunteer Firefighting FAQ

Who can be a volunteer firefighter?

Anyone with the desire to serve and help the community can be a volunteer firefighter! No prior experience or training is required. 

What qualifications are needed to become a volunteer firefighter?

Firefighters must be at least 18 years old and must complete a background check and a physical agility exercise. Recruits should be physically fit to participate in the training program.

Do volunteer firefighters in Williamson County get paid?

Volunteers are not paid. The State of Tennessee does provide a Volunteer Educational Incentive Pay program (VEIP). Each volunteer firefighter that meets program requirements could receive $600 annually. 

Do volunteers pay for training?

Williamson Fire-Rescue will provide 100% of the training and equipment required to volunteer at no cost.