Fire Departments in RI Step up Recruitment/Retention Efforts; Volunteer Tax Bill Passes PA House

Across the nation, fire departments are struggling to recruit and retain volunteer personnel. A recent article in the Providence Journal describes the challenges that Rhode Island fire departments face. Last Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed 195-0 a measure authorizing local governments to provide credits on earned-income and property taxes to, “…reverse a downward trend in the number of volunteers…”
In last week’s Dispatch we linked to two similar articles that were printed in newspapers in California and New Hampshire chronicling recruitment and retention efforts in those states. According to the most recently-available statistics published by National Fire Protection Association, the number of volunteer firefighters nationwide declined by 59,000 (more than seven percent) between 2008 and 2010. More than half of this reduction is due to a decline in the number of firefighters protecting communities with a population of 2,500 or fewer residents.
Visit the NVFC’s Legislation webpage to learn about bills currently pending before Congress that would help local communities and emergency response agencies to recruit and retain volunteer personnel.