Lea County, New Mexico, has three volunteer fire department located in Knowles, Maljamar & Monument. There are a total of 9 Fire Departments in Lea County with 5 being Municipal Fire Departments.
Volunteer Fire Departments most often cover a large amount of land. The Knowles Volunteer Fire Department covers an area of Approximately 194 square miles, Maljamar Volunteer Fire Department covers 546 sq miles and the Monument Volunteer Fire Department covers 364 sq miles.
A Volunteer Fire Department is a fire department composed of volunteers who perform fire suppression and other related emergency services for local jurisdictions. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, 73 percent of firefighters in the United States are members of Volunteer Fire Departments. Volunteer firefighters contrast with career firefighters who are full-time firefighters, working organized shifts, usually based in a centrally located firehouse. Volunteers are typically part-time or on-call firefighters who may have other occupations when not engaged in occasional firefighting. Although they may have "volunteered" to become members, and to respond to the call for help, they are not compensated as employees during the time they are responding to or attending an emergency scene, and possibly even for training drills. An on-call firefighter may be expected to volunteer time for other non-emergency duties as well; such as equipment maintenance, fundraising or training. A Volunteer Fire Department may also contract with other nearby departments to cover each other in a mutual or automatic agreement as a means for assisting each other with equipment and manpower, when necessary. Depending upon the location and availability of services, a Volunteer Fire Department may be responsible for controlling structure fires as well as grass fires. Because it may be the only emergency services department for some distance, a rural Volunteer Fire Department may also be fortunate to include first responders, emergency medical technicians, Hazardous Materials response, and other specially qualified rescue personnel.