Battling the Brain Drain

By BENJAMIN PEETZ A serious and dangerous problem is affecting communities from Indiana to Mississippi to Oregon: a shortage of volunteer firefighters. In many of this country's small rural and suburban communities, a loss of volunteers means a dangerous reduction in emergency services and response efficiency. According to information published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2012 statistics, nearly 69 percent of this nation's 1.1 million firefighters and emergency medical technicians are volunteers. The biggest challenges seem to be recruiting new members and retaining existing, trained personnel. Some discussions even allude to a complete collapse of the volunteer...

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