By Brad Segall
PARKLAND, Pa. (CBS) — Volunteer firefighter numbers have been dwindling over the years in Bucks County, so a recruitment drive is now underway to try to get a younger generation interested in giving back to their communities.
The Bucks County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association is using a FEMA grant to help attract new volunteers and boost their numbers. The push includes a social media blitz on Facebook and Twitter, along with a new web site (www.bucksfire.org, above) and appearances at school career days and local festivals.
“Most of the guys we have in most companies are in their mid-30s,” notes Sam Eckhardt of the Parkland Fire Company, just outside Langhorne, who is on the recruitment committee. “They’re family people and they’re donating a lot of their time but, you know, we’re getting older and we need to get some of the young people involved in the community efforts.”
He says they current members are looking for newcomers who can provide both time and service. The training and equipment comes at no cost to the volunteer. And he says becoming a firefighter is a rewarding experience.
“It gives you pride in yourself and in your community, (and) it lets you expand your abilities as a person, because you can see you are part of a community — not an island by yourself,” Eckhardt says.
He adds that they’re hoping to recruit members for all areas of service, not just firefighting.