The volunteer fire service is at a serious crossroads. Current membership is at its lowest point in nearly two decades, and further erosion could have dire consequences.
What the general public may not realize is the fire companies protecting their communities are often staffed exclusively by volunteers. When an emergency breaks out, these volunteers leave their homes and offices to respond, not the local firehouse, as paid firefighters do.
Some people will skip a trip to the beach this Labor Day weekend to labor in tornado damaged areas of Springfield Massachusetts. An official with the city’s long term recovery group says there is still a lot to be done to help people struggling to rebuild from the June 2011 disaster. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.