STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A nationwide volunteer firefighter shortage is affecting local fire departments.
“It’s locally, it’s across the country, it’s everywhere. Volunteer firefighters are struggling,” said David Smalley who is the former Stroud Township Fire Department Chief.
Dialing 911 for a fire emergency you expect those first responders to immediately come and help.
But what if there’s not enough of them to respond?
We’ll get five people out during the day to go on a call. It’s tough, we have to call multiple other departments to help. We’re all in the same boat,” said Smalley.
Smalley with Stroud Township Fire and Chief Charlie Frantz with Stroudsburg Fire both say they’re struggling to find volunteers.
“Back in the day, everybody could leave work to come to the fire calls. Now, you can’t. You know, you can’t leave to come do a fire call. The employer doesn’t want to lose their employee for a fire,” said Stroudsburg Cheif Charlie Frantz.
Chief Frantz tells Eyewitness News that over the past few years, recruitment numbers have been decreasing and that their current crew of about 40 members, is considered low.
“The younger generations just aren’t coming out to do it. We’ll go out on a fire call… our average crew is in the 50s,” said Smalley.
“It’s a commitment and it’s a great thing to do. I love it here. I love being a member, it’s a family here and I have a family outside of here,” said Cheif Frantz.
Chief Frantz says the COVID vaccine is not required for new recruits and urges both men and women to come out and volunteer.