PA Emergency Crews Face Volunteer Crisis

A report released Wednesday warns that Pennsylvania’s fire and rescue services face a crisis because of the shrinking number of volunteers, as well as funding and training challenges. The 95-page report says there were about 300-thousand volunteer firefighters in the state in the 1970s, a number that’s fallen to about 38,000 currently. Emergency medical services have also seen recent declines in personnel. Greg Jakubowski, a member of the 39-person legislative commission that issued the report says one recommendation is to have sprinklers required in newly built homes. Other recommendations include simplifying regionalization, boosting state aid, and setting standards for firefighter training. More than 90 percent of the state’s nearly 2,500 fire companies are volunteer organizations.