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Norristown Advertises For More Volunteer Firefighters

(Credit: Brad Segall)

(Credit: Brad Segall)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Two electronic billboards in Norristown ask people if they want to “add a new suit” to their wardrobe.

A billboard campaign designed to increase the number of volunteer firefighters in that Montgomery County community appears to be working, but officials say there is still a long way to go.

Over the years, they say, the department has seen a dramatic decline in the number of volunteers as Norristown becomes a more transient community with a lot of renters who pick up roots quickly.

In the meantime, fire chief Thomas O’Donnell notes, firefighters are battling blazes without a full complement of personnel:

“A typical building fire, at minimum, you would need sixteen personnel arriving simultaneously at a building fire to accomplish all the safety needs to effectively save lives, protect property, (and) have firefighters working safely and efficiently.”

Ninety-five percent of the time, he says, they have half that number.

So far the recruiting campaign has drawn in 26 volunteer prospects, but O’Donnell says more are needed.