To many, there is no reward great enough to take on the risk of entering a burning building. But the demand is growing, for those few people who are willing to answer the call to become a volunteer firefighter.
Apollo Career Center offers firefighter training courses year round. And while the classes seem to be filling up, the National Volunteer Fire Council says the number of volunteer firefighters in the United States has actually fallen by more than 14 percent since 1984.
"I actually seen a sign up at the department that they wanted volunteers, and I know a lot of the guys. It's one of the best things I ever done," said Mike Harrod, Spencerville Invincible Fire Company.
Harrod recently joined the Spencerville Invincible Fire Company.
Harrod sites a sense of brotherhood as one of the most rewarding aspects of joining the department. And that sense of camaraderie must be strong, because the risks are high.
Last year 81 firefighters across the country died while on duty.
So far this year, 32 firefighters have died.
That's one of the main reasons training requirements for firefighters have recently increased. Apollo Career Center offers hands on training at the school's public safety tower.
"We use it for search and rescue training, ventilation, specialized courses like rope rescue. We recently added the burn room to do live fire training for firefighters right here at Apollo," said Crystal Kempher, Public Safety Coordinator, Apollo Career Center.
Derrick Eutsler is taking the beginner volunteer course.
"It teaches you how to keep calm and think things through while you're going through a burning fire. You can panic real fast, get claustrophobic possibly. It's definitely needed to keep you calm," said Eutsler, Spencerville Invincible Fire Company.
With both budgets and man power tight, volunteer departments must do more with less.
"Everybody's got a fast world now. Two parents are working, there's kids to take care of. It's a lot of time devoted to one place," said Chief Dave Evans, Spencerville Invincible Fire Company.
So, many departments are stepping up their efforts to recruit.
"Whether there's money it in or not, it's very rewarding to know that you've helped somebody," said Rich Wilson, captain, Spencerville Invincible Fire Company.
But to be successful, applicants must have the right stuff.
"We're crazy. We have to be crazy in this business. Rats run out of burning buildings, and we run into burning buildings," said Ron Zenz, Apollo's Fire Training Manager.
There are plenty of departments looking for volunteers. Ohio has more than 1,300 fire departments in the state-- with a majority using volunteers.