Local fire departments need more volunteers

SHAMOKIN DAM – Local volunteer fire departments are still in desperate need of more volunteers as they are sent out on more calls then ever before. Shamokin Dam volunteer firefighter “Chop” Humphrey explained.

Humphrey said, “We haven’t been able to draw the volunteers. We are doing more with less and in the case of Shamokin Dam, years ago when I was chief, we were running 200 some calls. Now they are running 450 in just a short period of time. They are doing it with less manpower.”

The fire departments are also struggling to raise needed funding for the latest equipment. Jeremiah Hoover is captain at the Shamokin Dam Fire Company. Hoover said, “Our newest piece that we had bought was back in 2003 and we paid $240,000 for it. Now, today it would be $1,00,000 more, and that’s for a bare-bones straight-up engine.”

Hoover said they are trying to keep up with the latest technology. He said, “Some of the equipment we used now a days is way more advanced then what they used in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s come so much further. The protective equipment we wear and the clothing. That’s all based on construction of houses. The way new houses are built, they are all sealed up tight and it holds the heat, so we need to be protected.”

They are also forming more rescue groups to assist at the scene, including a  RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) operation. Hoover said, “It is a crew of four or more firefighters with tools, training and ability to rescue one of their own. Basically what we do is go and stand by. We standby, off to the side, out of the way ready to go if something would happen to one of the firemen.”

Other efforts include water rescue and rope rescue teams. You can hear more from Shamokin Dam volunteer firefighters from the WKOK Sunrise program on Thursday online at www.wkok.com. We also have a video at fire. (Ali Stevens)

SDFD

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