The times they are a changing... I believe Bob Dylan had words to that effect in a song once. And they've never been more true than now.
Well, your volunteer fire department is suffering too. Contributing factors are money, personnel and lack of community support. Funding from normal sources is being decreased or has been cut all together. A lack of personnel sometimes prohibits the department from responding when needed.
So with having your own problems, the money and/or time required to help us, the dangerous situations you could face. How can you help your volunteer fire department and why should you?
Generally speaking, ALL volunteer fire departments suffer from those two things. And it's not as easy as it may appear. When not sitting around waiting for the pagers or siren to alert us to a call, there's a variety training needed. Meetings and fundraisers to attend. When we do get called out, it can happen at any time of the day or night. It can happen during any kind of weather or during any holiday that you may be celebrating.
People that have jobs need to work multiple ones just to bring home a livable wage. People without jobs are looking for at least one and our children may need our help and guidance now more than ever. Social activities that once provided a means of escape and mental health retreat from the otherwise potentially mundane have become few and far between.
To those of you who continue to support us or already volunteer - THANK YOU!
There's a good probability that the volunteer fire department in your community was organized and staffed by a group of civic minded individuals in response to an event that occurred there. In the beginning, money was just as tight as it is now. But in case of another tragedy, the community decided to have people readily available and capable of mitigating the situation. During it's history, your volunteer fire department has been a focal point of your community for meetings, gatherings and community celebration. Men & women, your friends, neighbors and perhaps even family members may have been a part of the department. Some volunteer fire departments have been known to build character, promote comraderie, teamwork and provide experiences that help with all aspects of our daily lives.
There are many reasons why you should help. Some of them you will have to determine for yourself. But caring for your community and those people in it still has to be one of the best reasons I have to offer. Besides, a lot of communities can't afford the alternative of hiring people for a "paid" fire department.
How can you help? I suggest you call, talk to a member or better yet stop by the "house" nearest you to see what they're all about and see what options they have available for you to help them.
In closing, I offer the last paragraph as more food for thought.
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LOOKING FOR A WAY TO HELP WITH COLLEGE? Check this out...

Fire Volunteer, Education, Service and Training (FireVEST) Scholarship Program

The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in partnership with the Allegheny County Workforce Alliance and Allegheny County Fire Academy in an effort to help recruit, train and staff volunteer fire departments in Allegheny County are offering a Certificate/Associates Degree scholarship program.

These are full scholarships for residents of Allegheny County who currently volunteer of have just joined a volunteer fire department in the county.

Of the 200 scholarships offered per year, 150 of them are earmarked for new recruits in exchange for a commitment of 5 years service to a volunteer department and 50 will be awarded to existing volunteers in exchange for a commitment of an additional 5 years of service.

So for those people who may be looking at starting a college degree program and have financial concerns, please check out the following link: http://www.ccac.edu/default.aspx?id=145827 and help your community at the same time.
To those of you who are considering joining a department, please consider the following.