Dramatic Decline of Volunteer Firefighters Leaves PA Counties With Little Help
In Pennsylvania reportedly 90 percent of the fire companies are volunteer, but since the 1970s the number of volunteers declined by 88 percent. Volunteer firefighters have declined at an alarming rate which causes a shortage of emergency personnel in certain counties.
Marty Hamilton, Assistant Chief of Watsburg Hose Company worked as a volunteer firefighter for more than 40 years. Due to the decline of volunteers he is forced to take on more responsibilities; such as working as the only firefighter during the day and working as EMT simultaneously.
“A lot of people especially in the newer generation want to be paid for it. They’re not willing to give up their time,” said Marty Hamilton.
In Feb., Rep. Clint Owlett introduced legislation to help volunteer firefighters who pay for their own equipment. House Bill 376, would enact a tax credit of up to $500.
House Bill 376 has been referred to the House Finance Committee but as of now there is no confirmation of whether or not the bill will be approved.