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Shortage of volunteer firefighters threatens fire departments’ existence

APRIL 29, 2019 | by Katherine Barrett, Richard Greene | GOVERNING

In Pennsylvania, where Benjamin Franklin started the nation's first volunteer fire company in 1736, the number of volunteer firefighters declined from 300,000 in the 1970s to 38,000 in 2018, according to the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute. The loss has already forced some departments to reduce their services, diminishing the effectiveness of their emergency response.

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