Montgomery County volunteer fire department seeking young recruits to help address statewide shortage
NORRITON, Pa. - The number of volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania's third-most populated county continues to fall, leaving first responders hopeful for new recruits.
Chief Kevin McDevitt of the Norrriton Volunteer Fire Department in Montgomery County says the decline in volunteers has been happening for 10 years and is exacerbated by growing populations.
"We need more people to cover the calls that we’re having with the township growing with development it keeps piling on and piling on," Chief McDevitt told FOX 29.
On Tuesday morning alone, the department was called to three emergency calls in a row, including a gas leak at a shopping center in East Norriton.
Senior firefighters, like McDevitt, are calling on the young members of the community to get involved with the department amid a statewide dropoff in volunteers.
"I just love to help the feeling I know I helped somebody today," Jimmy Toth, an 18-year-old volunteer who provided mutual aid on Tuesday morning's gas leak.
Bridget Maier, 20, began volunteering last summer after she was inspired by her twin brother. She is now heading to the fire academy while she attends college.
"He would come home I would love hearing the stories I decided to join and I love it," Maier said.
More and more, shorthanded neighboring fire departments are calling the volunteer crews for assistance while the volunteers are calling outside fire crews for help.
"The mutual aid companies are running into trouble too, they're relying on and calling us more into their towns but likewise were pulling them into our town," McDevitt said.
Anyone interested in volunteering can find more information and sign up here.