Five members of the Dorrance Township Volunteer Fire Department attended the Sept. 11 supervisors meeting to issue an impassioned plea for help.
They were asking not for money but for volunteers.
“You can have all the shiny trucks in the world, but if you don’t have anyone to put in them, it won’t help,” emergency medical technician Val Zane said.
The number of volunteer firefighters is declining statewide, EMS Captain Jeff Kotarsky said, citing a study that indicated the state had 300,000 volunteer firefighters in the 1970s and is now down to less than 50,000. In Dorrance, this has meant a decline from 60 or 70 in the 1970s to about “20 at best” now, he said, noting the real backbone of the department is the five members who were in attendance at the meeting.
To compound the problem, Dorrance’s number of fire and EMS calls has doubled over the last decade. Kotarsky said they’re now answering about 450 calls per year.
Other departments are suffering the same shortage, Duane Seltzer said, noting that sometimes 20 people used to come on trucks from neighboring municipalities when backups were called in, but now most departments send a truck with only two or three people on it.
See Dorrance page 4