WATCH: Under Fire - Parts 1, 2 & 3: An in-depth look at the challenges volunteer fire departments face

Nationally, there are more than twice as many volunteer firefighters as paid fire fighters.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped 11 percent, in the last 30 years alone.

Fire Chief, Paul Marshall, of Deer Walk Volunteer Fire Department says, "It's really tough to recruit now. There's just not a lot of people, they move away from town because there's no school's this far. They know their children are going to have to ride school buses and things. It's a detriment to try to develop an area like this."

However, the number of people pursuing paid fire fighter positions has grown more 50 percent.

Dave Ankrom an EMT with New Port Volunteer Fire Department says, “The younger generation isn't coming to the fire house to volunteer, because they want to do this as a job."

Ankrom says the fight for consistent shift workers is daily, and sometimes volunteers aren't available for a call.

This is when they rely on neighboring departments for help.
Ankrom says, “The things we were noticing, we were missing a lot of night time calls because we were having less and less volunteers show up."

Across the river, local volunteer fire departments are experiencing some of the same challenges.

Vienna Fire Chief, Steve Scholl says, "It's just hard. People's lives are so busy. Sometimes it takes people two or three jobs to make a living. So, they just don't have the extra time.”



 
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