The fraught future of the volunteer firefighting
Firefighters and fire departments perform a critical service in our communities.
Not only do they prevent and extinguish structural fires, but they also respond to medical emergencies and help mitigate the effects of natural disasters.
That’s why it may come as a shock to you that more than 70 percent of fire departments are staffed by volunteers, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Many of these volunteers respond to emergency calls part-time while balancing demanding full-time jobs.
Volunteer fire departments are having to contend with a variety of challenges, including dips in volunteerism and heightened standards for fire and emergency response teams.
All the while, climate emergencies are becoming more frequent and dangerous for all of us – including first responders.
What changes – if any – should the volunteer fire departments make to better support their responders? How does pay complicate the equation? We convene a panel of experts to discuss.
Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5