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 for Thursday, May 30:
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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