SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Thirty volunteers from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department were honored Monday for more than 1,000 hours of service.
Fire Chief Patrick McElroy said without the volunteers, many programs wouldn't be possible.
"In addition to fire department employees, it's important to have volunteers that are connected to different parts of the community and this is an extraordinary group of people and we're so proud of their association with us," said McElroy.
Many of the volunteers were honored by the department for their work, including Cathy Wright. She was given a special gift for five years of service.
Wright helps with the Fire Safety House. The program teaches third graders about fire safety in their own homes. The free program taught 880 students from 13 schools this year.
She knows it works after a former student saved many lives.
"It was a sixth grader at McKinnley School who had learned what she remembered in third grade at Fire Safety House and saved her entire apartment building from a fire. Evacuated all 10 units. It was so impressive," she said.
Anthony Rodriguez has been volunteering for more than five years. In that time, he's helped train nearly 200 Spanish-speaking community emergency response team members, also known as CERT.
"We all live in a community that has Spanish and English speakers. And they're part of the community and we can't ignore that. And they're a large part of the community and it's very important that we be trained; spanish or english, it doesn't matter. Because if a disaster hits, it doesn't matter what language you speak, it's all going to hit us the same," said Rodriguez.
He and the rest of the volunteers believe they are apart of the Santa Barbara Fire Department team even if they don't get a paycheck.
Click here for more volunteer information in Santa Barbara City.
Click here for more volunteer information in Santa Barbara County.Slideshow: Fire Department Volunteers Honored For Service