Volunteer Firefighters Wanted

By Jayne Ann Bugda | jbugda@pahomepage.com, Sharon Gaeta

Published 06/24 2014 07:33PM

Updated 06/24 2014 07:59PM

In Pike County alone there are 16 volunteer fire companies.
The state wide concern the number of people volunteering is dwindling.
To extinguish this problem, Pike County training facility director Tim Knapp is pitching the firefighters training program to high school students.
"We feel if you can attract the youth and keep them involved in the volunteer service right from an early age you will be able to retain them for five six years."

Branden Farnsworth is one of those junior fire fighters.
He has been in training at the pike county training facility for the past three years.
Branden says training is challenging, but necessary,
" Just running hose flowing water I mean your putting the fire out the fire its something  that juniors can train and some day do at a fire scene."

 Through class lecture  and field drills, knapp is hoping to help convince teens to climb the ladder and one day become a firefighter.
Knapp says without volunteer firefighters, the state would spend about 13.8 billion dollars to subsidize the companies and would have minimal staffing.

"Your fire departments would be coming from further distances away and you would have to recognize certain areas you wouldn't have the number of departments we have today."

Each class offered at the Pike County training facility teaches the fundamentals of becoming a firefighter.
From how to put on gear properly to using breathing apparatus.
A class Stephen Mullin will be taking for the first time this August.

"Its going to be a lot of work because firefighting is a lot of hard work but in order to do the job right you have to do training."

You have to be 18 to enter a burning building , but being a junior firefighter is just as crucial.

"We can get the senior members that are going into the building their tools and everything outside the fire ground, we get to throw ladders up on building and pull hose from trucks." added Knapp.

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