Shelburne Rescue Chief Jacob Leopold

Shelburne Rescue Chief Jacob Leopold role-plays as a patient while Jenna Lindemann, Elora Buscher and Nick Lebeau show how to provide care in an ambulance for the department’s promotional video. 

The filming of a new video promoting Shelburne Fire and Rescue wasn’t all lights, camera, action.

“I really wanted to do it. I knew the video would be visually interesting — the color of the truck, the flashing lights,” Ken French, of Charlotte, said. “But in the end, it was really about the people.”

French, the director, editor and cameraman for the project, said he went into it thinking the important part of the story would be the fire trucks because they’re so iconic — and so red.

The video has been shared on local social media and can be seen at mediafactory.org/watch#/episode/55671.

French is the municipal services manager at the MediaFactory, a nonprofit media center based in Burlington. He oversees the filming of selectboards and other town meetings in the area.

Shelburne Fire and Rescue was ruminating on ways to attract more people, the crews would benefit from an expanded base of volunteers, Lee Krohn said.

Krohn is Shelburne’s town manager and is a volunteer firefighter.

Although Krohn is also the fire department’s secretary and historian, he prefers being known as a firefighter.

As they planned, Krohn said he would talk to one of his neighbors in Charlotte who he thought might help them produce a video to draw attention to Shelburne Fire and Rescue.

Krohn’s neighbor was French, and he jumped at the opportunity.

Aside from the great visual appeal of working on the project, French said, “It was completely consistent with MediaFactory’s mission of driving public discourse and community building.”

Everything about the project was fun, he said. “We stuck GoPros all over the fire truck.”

Shelburne Rescue’s assistant chief Devin Major said one of the major goals of filming the video was recruiting more people to join in.

“If we could get four to five volunteers every year that would help us maintain our numbers,” Major said, and having more volunteers would help the Shelburne save money.

The town has had to deploy paid crews from other area departments for four to five shifts a week that aren’t staffed, Major said — it would be great to be able to replace these crews with volunteers from the town department.

Volunteers are often lost to old age or are hired as paid rescue workers by other towns, he said.

An advantage of volunteering with Shelburne Rescue, Major said, is members’ certification training is paid by the town.

Volunteers don’t have to live in Shelburne, there are members from surrounding towns whose rescue or fire departments are full.

For Krohn there is another advantage: “The fire service is a fascinating journey, far more than I ever knew or anticipated.”

“It’s among the most intense forms of community or public service,” he said. “You will learn things you would never have imagined.”

Krohn said volunteering for the fire department is not just about running into burning buildings and every rescue call isn’t a massive emergency, “but it’s an emergency for the person who called.”

Trying to help someone who may be experiencing the worst day of their life is very rewarding, he said.

French also produced a five-minute video for cardiac arrest training. It is available online at mediafactory.org/watch#/episode/55507.

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