Philadelphia firefighters carry a ladder to battle a blaze at the PECO electrical substation in the Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, in Philadelphia. Tens of thousands of electric customers were reported to be without power as fire crews battled a blaze at a north Philadelphia utility substation.
Scott LaMar has worked in both radio and television for more than four decades.
Currently, LaMar is the Host and Executive Producer of the daily Smart Talk news and public affairs program on 89.5 & 93.3.
Previously, LaMar was WITF TV’s Sr. Public Affairs producer and produced the station’s award-winning weekly public affairs TV program Smart Talk and the Issues PA series on the Pennsylvania Public Television Network. LaMar has won more than a dozen Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcast Awards since 2000 and has been nominated for five Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards.
LaMar and Smart Talk have been recognized throughout the Central Pennsylvania community including ADVOZ Lancaster’s first “Dignity in Dialogue Award”, the South Central Assembly’s “Regional Citizen Award” and was named a “Humanitarian Hero” by The Humane Society of the United States/Pennsylvania.
A native of Coatesville, Pa., LaMar has also worked as a broadcast news anchor, sports play-by-play announcer and manager.
Ninety percent of firefighters in Pennsylvania are volunteers and there are far fewer of them than in the past. There were more than 300,000 volunteer firefighters in the state in the 1970s. Today there are about 38,000. The problem may get worse too because the average volunteer firefighter — at least nationally — is over 40 years old.
The numbers alone indicate lives could be in danger when there is a fire or emergency.
Why aren’t more people volunteering? Many cite time constraints, going through the training required and fundraising by volunteer fire companies.
Mike Ibberson, Jerry Ozog and Justin Eberly appear in the studio on Smart Talk on February 13, 2020. Commissioner Duane Ober joined the conversation by phone.
Moves are in the works on the state level that include tax credits for volunteers. Some municipalities have implemented taxes to help defray expenses but that does little to recruit firefighters and emergency personnel.
Thursday’s Smart Talk addresses the volunteer firefighter shortage and the needs of local fire departments.
Appearing on the program are Jerry Ozog, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Fire & Emergency Services Institute and an active volunteer firefighter in Hampden Township (Cumberland County), Mike Ibberson, Chief, Swatara Township Fire Rescue (Dauphin County), Justin Eberly, Volunteer Firefighter & Active EMT from Cumberland County who is also a Volunteer Recruitment / Retention Trainer for VFIS/Glatfelter Insurance Group, and Duane Ober, Commissioner Warwick Emergency Services Commission (Lancaster County).