P.I. Fire Chief Says National Volunteer Firefighter Shortage Is Having An Effect On The County
A large majority of the County is protected by partial or all-volunteer fire departments. But with a national shortage of volunteer firefighters, are our County fire departments are feeling the burn?
According to Presque Isle Fire Chief Darrell White, times have changed and so have state and federal regulations.
The increased training and stricter requirements are only two of the many reasons for the shortage, according to Chief White.
"We're allowed to carry 33 volunteers. I can't remember the last time we were able to get 33."
Right now the Presque Isle Fire Department has about 24 volunteers, but they are aging. Some are retiring out of the program.
Between their work that pays the bills, their family and their time at the fire station, Chief White understands and tries to bring the attitude that he appreciates all the time that a volunteer can give to the department as a volunteer firefighter.
Here are a few requirements if you'd like to be a volunteer firefighter.
Chief White lined out some of the requirements an individual would need to consider if they are thinking about joining the volunteer firefighters in the County.
"The first thing you need to be is somewhat physically fit. We ask for a clean driving record if you're going to be driving firetrucks. A clean criminal history as we have a lot of responsibility. We're in people's homes, so we need to make sure we have good people behind us, but as far as training, you don't need any training to join the department."
Each volunteer will need to eventually complete Fire Fighter One and Two which, according to Chief White, takes over 300 hours to complete.
Please take a look at our conversation with Chief Darrell White in the video below for more information about the need for volunteer firefighters and how you can become one.