Long-time fire chief & politician fears for the volunteer fire service in Pennsylvania

Mergers & regionalization of 60 fire departments, incentives & other efforts may not be enough

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This is not an optimistic view of the future of the volunteer fire service in Pennsylvania. It comes, in part, from a political leader who is a long-time volunteer from Bucks County. It’s an article from Matthew Rink at Erie Times-News that’s well worth reading. It brings together a lot of what we’ve all seen and heard over the last decade or more. It also looks at the alternative, billions of dollars to operate career departments in a state that has been more than 90 percent volunteer.

Matthew Rink, Erie Times-News:

State Sen. Frank Farry says it’s inevitable: At some point, Pennsylvania residents will have to pay for fire protection.

Farry, a Republican who represents portions of Bucks County, has been a volunteer firefighter for 33 years and has served as chief of the Langhorne-Middletown Fire Co. in Bucks County since 2001.

“Ultimately, what’s going to happen is when we, the volunteers, go the way of the dinosaur, there’s going to be significant property tax increases,” said Farry, a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly since 2009. “I’m not saying the volunteer fire service will completely go away. It’s (a question of): ‘Will the volunteer fire service be able to continue to provide adequate fire protection?’ If we don’t start getting some people in the door, that’s going to be reality.”

Read entire article

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