BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — A Brookings Fire Chief Darrell Hartmann remembers when the fire department had a long list of volunteer applicants who would wait up to two years to get an interview.

But "modern lifestyle," Hartmann says, has left him with low staffing levels and a recruiting challenge. He is now searching for one more volunteer as two firefighters have stepped down.

Hartmann says the department is "open to anyone who feels they can pass the background check and the physical." He says the most difficult portion of the physical is having to lift and carry 100 pounds.

Volunteer firefighter Tim Austin says the job isn't just about putting out fires. He says volunteers also get rescue calls and occasionally assist paramedics with patients.

Hartmann says newcomers must complete a 160-hour certification course.

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