VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Volunteer fire fighter makes Liberty Hill a better place

Amy Vanlandingham is a volunteer fire fighter with Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 in Liberty Hill. (Lauren Jette Photo)

Amy Vanlandingham is a volunteer fire fighter with Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 in Liberty Hill. (Lauren Jette Photo)

By Lauren Jette

Whenever there’s a fire, Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 responds to the call with a team of fire fighters ready to do whatever they can to save lives and property. Part of that team includes volunteer fire fighters like Amy Vanlandingham, a transplant from Colorado who volunteers with the department 48 hours a month.

“(I) moved out here in 2011 to the Austin area and I’ve always been interested in fire fighting and wanted to gain more experience, so I decided to come up here and start volunteering.”

Fire fighting runs in Vanlandingham’s family and sparked her interest in becoming a fire fighter herself. “My uncle is a fire chief in Colorado, so I grew up around it and I always thought it was the coolest job,” she said.

“When I graduated from college, I wanted to get some experience, so I did a wild and fire fighting camp up in Colorado and just kept liking it, so that’s why I started volunteering here.”

After originally moving to the Austin area for a job as a graphic designer for the past four years, Vanlandingham has volunteered with LHFD for three years now, and just started working with Lake Travis Fire and Rescue, doing wildfire prevention with their field mitigation crew, she said.

Part of what drew Vanlandingham to fire fighting was the chance to help people and avoid the 8 to 5 desk job.

“Just the opportunity to meet people and help people and not be stuck behind a desk all day and interact with people,” Vanlandingham said. “There’s a little bit of excitement in there, too. It’s also very challenging. It pushes you to study and work out and you have to be on top of your game mentally and physically. I think that’s what draws me to it.” Vanlandingham remembers her first call with WCESD #4.

“My first fire was pretty exciting,” she said. “There was a vehicle fire and luckily everyone was okay, so no bad memories associated with it, but that was pretty exciting, just to get out and put out my first fire.”

Since she started volunteering here, Vanlandingham has spent quite a bit of time studying to become a better fire fighter, she said.

“Studying is a lot of time, actually,” Vanlandingham said.

“I have my firefighter 1 and 2 certifications and my EMT basics certification and then I also just finished my driver operator certification so I can drive the squad and operate the pump if I need to on the engine. “It’s actually pretty time consuming just to study and get through those classes and actually being here physically putting in the hours. If you actually want to help, you have to train and get certifications.”

When she’s not busy studying for certifications or responding to calls, Vanlandingham enjoys her hobbies of music and art.

“I was an art major at Abilene Christian University and so I still love to do art when I get the chance and then I play the guitar. I’ve been playing since I was 12. I like to do that when I have free time.”

In her time with the ESD, Vanlandingham has come to appreciate the community Liberty Hill is.

“I do like that you come out here and it’s not as busy as Austin,” Vanlandingham said. “It’s kind of nice to get away from all of that crazy traffic and all the people and it’s a little more open out here, so I enjoy that.

“I think it’s a really nice place up here in Liberty Hill,” she added. “It’s a really nice little community. Every time we go out on a call, people are really friendly and try to help. It’s a good place to be.”