Columbia’s Fire Department, is a volunteer department.
Earlier in last night’s meeting, Chief Kemmerly, provided an overview of the department’s 2018 report. He apologized that he could not project the report for all to see because the projection system was not operating. He did say the report would be posted at the Fire Department’s Website. The department’s monthly reports are shown at the Website.
The chief stressed the importance of volunteer firefighters; he cautioned the number of firefighters shrinking marginally. That is the troubling trend across the state and the nation. The training requirements and response time for volunteer emergency responders is taking a toll on volunteers.
It’s difficult getting accurate numbers for fire departments; this Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) report shows that Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of fire departments with 1,794.
This Philly.com article says “More than 90 percent of the state’s roughly 2,400 fire companies are volunteer.”
The article also states, “About 300,000 people volunteered as firefighters in Pennsylvania in the 1970s, but that number has dwindled to fewer than 38,000, due in part to more time demands, an aging population, and societal shifts, said the commission of Pennsylvania lawmakers, municipal officials, and emergency service professionals that produced the report.”