Threats to Volunteer Fire Departments

Benjamin Franking in fire helmet

The very first volunteer fire departments in the United State of America can attribute their existence, at least in part, to the foresight of Benjamin Franklin. It is well documented that Franklin established one of the earliest volunteer fire departments in Philadelphia; just last year it was discovered that he actually ran with the department in 1736.

According to Mr. Donald Konkle of the Pennsylvania Fire & Emergency Services Institute, there are serious threats to the system of volunteer fire departments across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. From volunteer shortages to budget shortfalls, there is a looming crisis.

This past Thursday, May 30, WITF’s Radio Smart Talk sat down with Mr. Konkle to discuss some of these challenges and potential solutions. It’s worth a listen. At a basic level, just think about the financial aspects of recruitment, training, and equipment. All three are necessary for the volunteer (and paid) fire departments. But what does this mean for you?

Fire departments have a huge impact on Homeowners insurance rates. If you don’t have a local fire department, your protection class is likely higher than a home within a few miles of a fire hydrant and fire department. Take a look at your Homeowners Insurance Declarations Page – can you find your protection class? If you can’t, we can help analyze your policy to make sure that it is accurate. Let us help you learn how your location and local fire department impacts your policy.

It’s in the best interest of all property owners to support their local fire departments; they might just save you or your property We are big fans of our friends just across the street at the Linglestown Fire Company. If you feel called to duty, please consider volunteering. If you’re not up for joining the Department, please consider making a donation.