December 25, 2016

Small town fire departments running short on firefighters

Rural Blog - Small-town fire departments are short on volunteers and struggling to keep the ranks full. Populations in small towns are aging, on average, "and that’s reflected in those who serve some of the most important public safety chores: fighting fires and answering rescue calls, from highway accidents to heart attacks and slips and falls," reports Paul Hammel of the World-Herald.

Small-town departments in Nebraska and Iowa have deployed several strategies to help fill the ranks, from recruiting high-school-age "cadets" as helpers, reimbursing training costs and paying a small stipend to answer calls, Hammel writes. "As an incentive to volunteer, the Nebraska Legislature passed a law this year granting a $250-a-year income tax credit for those who volunteer for fire and ambulance services. In Iowa, a similar law went into effect in 2013."

Nationally, about 31 percent of firefighters in towns under 2,500 in population are age 50 or older, officials told Hammel.


Anonymous said...

A branch of my family lives in a small town about 25 miles south of the big city I live in. My family out there have been in the volunteer fire department for generations. One of my cousins even had his wedding reception at the fire hall, which was fortunate, because there was a call and the party thinned out quite a bit when most of the men (not the groom) ran out the door and a few minutes later left in their fire department uniforms. One of groomsmen turned around to wave bye as the tuck pulled out and you could see his tux shirt under his coat.

When my Uncle passed on, he had been a Commander in the department, the whole fire department showed up to the funeral. Two nearby towns even arranged to cover any fires in my uncle's town while the funeral was going on, so the whole department could show up. He also had a lot of people from the other nearby fire departments who weren't on call attend.

Now one of my cousin's son and his son-in-law both are volunteering in the fire department too now.

They are concerned because the town they live in has mushroomed over the past decade or so, but there hasn't been as many recruits as there used to be. The town is considering how to find a way to add a few full time professional fire fighters and keep it's volunteer force. The newcomers to town don't want to pay for professional fire fighters, but they don't seem to get that if they want to avoid the expense of hiring professional firefighters, they need to get out and volunteer.

Anonymous said...

In reality Hispanics imported by the milions are very family orientated and work hard but volenteer very little. Welcome to the USA republic sliding toward third world.. south America style... By the way I can't think of a single black who volenteer's for anything ever for the general community. The usa is running out of white men able and willing to do anything extra...

Anonymous said...

In truth volenteer's are usually those with time energy and will to something extra for their local community, totally thankless tasks for the most part. I imagine a third world republic will be hard pressed to find such for many reasons. If one can hardly survive, no extra energy or time and feels no community conection, then very unlikely to do anything extra "for the man".