Saturday, November 26, 2022

Play

An investigative probe into how rules written for distressed rust belt property may benefit a select few; Small Business Saturday highlights local Economies; FL nonprofit helps offset the high cost of insulin.

Play

A Supreme Court case could have broad implications for the future of U.S. elections, results show voters rejected election deniers in many statewide races, and the concession phone call may be a thing of the past.

Play

A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

Volunteer Firefighter Shortage Spurs MA Departments into Action

Play

Wednesday, September 21, 2022   

If you dial 911, it is more than likely a volunteer firefighter will respond to your emergency, but in Massachusetts, there are not enough volunteers.

More than half the 360 fire departments in the Bay State are volunteer-run, and rarely do they fight actual fires. Most calls are for medical emergencies, and they also respond to floods, car accidents and even hazardous waste spills.

As climate change brings more extreme weather, firefighters can spend days or even weeks in rescue and recovery efforts.

Joe Maruca, fire chief in West Barnstable, said it puts a great strain on volunteer crews.

"Even our department, with 40 volunteers, sounds big, but it's only just about the right size," Maruca explained. "We would struggle on day three or day four of an event to be able to rotate people into the incident and sustain ourselves."

Many fire departments still rely on word-of-mouth, open-house events and old-fashioned door knocking to recruit volunteers. They are also increasing their social media presence and working to interest high school students, who might consider a two-year certification program rather than leaving town to get a four-year college degree.

Maruca pointed out the amount of training required to become a volunteer firefighter and maintain the certification prohibits many people from signing up. But he emphasized there are other ways volunteers can support their local fire departments not involving emergencies.

"They help us with truck maintenance, and they help us with training, and they help us with human resource work," Maruca outlined. "There's all kinds of things they can do. We have people that help teach CPR classes to the community."

Some local governments offer volunteers a financial stipend for their training hours or on-call hours.

Sarah Lee, CEO of the National Volunteer Fire Council, said such incentives are needed, as the lack of volunteers is forcing many departments to pool their resources and cover larger geographic areas.

"These small, rural communities are relying on volunteers to respond, and if they don't have enough people, then the response time is going to be even longer," Lee stressed. "It's really important that they get people that want to step up and give back to their community."


get more stories like this via email
During open enrollment for 2022 coverage, Georgia saw a record number of individuals, more than 700,000, sign up for health insurance. (Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Open enrollment for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is already underway, and ends on Jan. 15. More than 1.3 million Georgians do …


Social Issues

Holiday shoppers this week have no shortage of options with Small Business Saturday being observed on Nov. 26. Sandwiched between Black Friday and …

Health and Wellness

The American Heart Association has developed a series of videos to educate women about heart disease. The Red Chair Series is a four-episode series …


Chris Powers stands in front of the Land Bank lot that he tried to bid on in Southern Ohio. (Eye on Ohio)

Social Issues

By Lucia Walinchus for Eye on Ohio.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan for Ohio News Connection Collaboration reporting for the Ohio Center for Invest…

Environment

Members of a Detroit-area community are intervening in an Environmental Protection Agency lawsuit against a DTE Energy subsidiary charged with dumping…

A bill poised to become federal law would require cell-phone companies to, among other things, separate a domestic violence survivor's phone line from their abuser's plan within two business days of receiving a request. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

A bill headed to President Joe Biden's desk addresses a long-standing problem for domestic violence survivors, ending their ties to their abusers' …

Environment

Oregon is home to a plethora of rivers, but those waterways are not always accessible to every community. A new video series highlights how …

Environment

California is number one in the country for dollars spent on camping, hiking, climbing, and biking, according to the latest federal data. The most …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021