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.