Volunteer fire companies throughout the region are reporting lower numbers of volunteers than in years past.
Volunteer fire companies throughout the region are reporting lower numbers of volunteers than in years past. The trend, while showing little sign of a turnaround, has a long history.
Jim Gable has been a firefighter for 24 years. The current Chief of the Phoenixville Fire Department says he’s been seeing the decline in volunteers his entire career.
The Phoenixville Fire Department has about 70 firefighters, and about 60 of them are volunteers. Gable says to combat the trend, Chester County got a grant to put up billboards and other ads asking for volunteers of all kinds.
Gable: It could be administrative end that people need help with. You don’t need to suit up and actually run into a burning building. There’s all kinds of things to be a volunteer firefighter.
Gable says the Phoenixville Department, and several other area departments, are relying heavily on partnerships with neighboring fire companies to share specialty equipment and personnel.
Volunteers are given some incentive, including a $100 dollar state tax credit.