HARRISBURG, Pa. – A new report warns of a crisis in Pennsylvania’s fire and rescue services, saying the number of volunteers continues to fall amid funding needs and training challenges.
The 95-page legislative study released on Wednesday says there were about 300,000 volunteer firefighters in the state in the 1970s, a number that’s fallen to about 38,000.
More than 90 percent of the state’s nearly 2,500 fire companies are volunteer organizations.
The report’s 27 recommendations include simplifying regionalization, boosting state aid, setting standards for firefighter training and requiring sprinklers in new home construction.
The study was commissioned last year by the Legislature.
Participants say the next step is to push lawmakers to adopt its recommendations.