LINWOOD, N.C. (WGHP) — The higher fuel prices could be affecting not just your wallet but your safety.

Some volunteer fire departments have already blown their fuel budgets for the year. You might notice fewer fire trucks on the road and more in their bays. The rising cost of diesel is forcing departments to scale back on their calls and avoid filling up as often.

“I think our fuel bill…a year ago was like maybe $1000,” said Chief Terry Leonard with the Linwood Fire Department. “Now, the monthly bills getting in are anywhere between $2,500 to $3,000.”

The money the LFD spends on diesel has more than doubled in the past few months, but the amount of fuel firefighters are using is the same. It’s forcing Leonard to be more strategic about what calls he takes and which truck he uses to respond.

“We actually take one of the smaller trucks, and somebody is standing by here in case the big one has to go,” he said.

The higher fuel prices are also making firefighters think twice about volunteering.

Volunteers at the Fair Grove Fire Department are using their personal vehicles to respond to calls, draining their wallets to help save you in a crisis.

“If it’s a structure fire or like a major wreck then we have 10 to 20 volunteers on the way,” said Assistant Chief Cody Joyner with the Fair Grove Fire Department. “It’s coming out of their own pocket, so it’s put a hurt on that.”

Both departments have already had a hard time getting volunteers over the past few years. The high fuel prices aren’t helping recruitment efforts.

“Hopefully, we’ll get enough there to do that job,” Leonard said. “Whenever you sit there, and we’ve got a structure fire, especially in this heat, you need everybody you can get. If they don’t have the money to buy gas and come, they’ve got to take care of their families first.”

These fire chiefs tell FOX8 that if the prices don’t go down in the coming months, they’ll have to start having conversations about possibly cutting back on equipment, programs and incentives they offer volunteers.