Brockway, PA – The Brockway Fire Department is urging you to step up and volunteer if you can.

Assistant Brockway Fire Chief Devin Trentini says more volunteers will be needed if the borough will continue to have the same fire coverage it has grown accustomed to.

Most current firefighters are from an older generation, who are now retiring or unable to volunteer with the fire companies. That’s why it’s so important for younger people to begin working with the fire departments now to prevent a shortage of volunteers.

Brockway was recently only able to send six firefighters to a structure fire in the borough. Fortunately, surrounding areas are all in the same situation, so they provided aid.

Departments all across the state are running low on volunteers.

A state commission of firefighters and EMS crews are saying first responders are in a major crisis. 50 years ago in the 1970s, there were 300,000 volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania. Now that number is just 38,000.

The commission released a report with 27 recommendations to increase the number of people who volunteer. This includes adding incentives to help recruit first responders, as well as expanding the office of the state fire commissioners, and providing state funding for basic EMS and fire training.

Requirements for becoming a volunteer firefighter vary by fire department. Most departments require firefighters to be 18 years of age or older and hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Candidates are generally required to pass written and physical exams, drug screenings and background checks. Some departments may require volunteer firefighters to hold a valid driver’s license and live within a department’s service area. Many employers prefer applicants who demonstrate strong decision-making skills, dependability and bravery.

If you’d like to learn more about volunteering with your local fire company or EMS crew, reach out to them to talk about the requirements and how to get started.

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Firefighters in Brockway will be offering fire truck rides for kids tonight at their holiday celebration! Santa will also be there! The Brockway Kaimanns’ Hayride with Santa is happening tonight at Taylor Memorial Park, starting at 6 p.m.