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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Volunteer fire department challenges

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | May 30, 2013 8:18 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, May 30:

firefighter 300 x 170.jpg

The first fire department in America was created by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in 1736.

Today, Pennsylvania has some 1,800 fire departments to protect its 13 million residents.

More than 90% of the fire departments are made up of volunteers only and another 7% have a combination of paid and volunteer firefighters.  However, the number of volunteers has been falling.  There were 300,000 volunteers in the mid-1970s compared to 60,000 today.  Most of the remaining volunteers are over the age of 50. 

Dozens of fire companies have closed, merged, or consolidated as well.

Not only is recruitment a challenge but so is money.  Many Pennsylvania fire companies are constantly fundraising or seeking other ways to pay for their equipment and services.

On Thursday's Radio Smart Talk, we'll examine the challenges volunteer fire companies are facing.

Donald Konkle, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute will join us.

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-05-30 08:41

    Email from Samantha

    I guess I think there are better ways to evenly disperse funds.

    I live where I pay to the township 500 a year (which is paid by homeowners and renters alike), our homes taxes where just increased and my homeowners insurance was just increased by close to 200 a year.

    However if I were to move over one town my township taxes would be less than 50 a year, my taxes would be less and my insurance would not change all that much.

    Why is one township charges more to live there and the next doesn’t?

    Our Fire Department is well funded because out township charges all residents a tax not just the homeowners. I don’t think it’s fair to increase homeowner taxes and not have the renters contributing to an issue that effects them as well.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-05-30 08:55

    Email from Mark:

    two words- “Sprinkler Systems”

  • Todd Clay img 2013-05-31 07:09

    How about giving the citizenry access to hoses and fire hydrants. If it was possible in a place like the City of York to get a hose and connect it to a fireplug it might mean saving a structure just by having the few minutes of advanced access.

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