Thursday, March 23, 2023

Play

A proposed flavored tobacco ban is back on the table in Minnesota, Trump attorney Evan Corcoran must testify in the documents probe, and a "clean slate" bill in Missouri would make "expungement" automatic.

Play

The Fed raises interest rates and reassures the banking system is sound, Norfolk Southern reaffirms a commitment to the people of East Palestine, and TikTok creators gather at the Capitol to support free expression.

Play

Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Volunteer Firefighter Shortage Spurs ME Departments into Action

Play

Wednesday, October 12, 2022   

If you dial 911, it is more than likely a volunteer firefighter will respond to your emergency, but in Maine, there are not enough volunteers for this important work.

More than 70% of the 338 fire departments in the Pine Tree State are volunteer-run, and rarely do they fight actual fires. Most calls are for medical emergencies, but they also respond to floods, car accidents and even hazardous waste spills.

As climate change brings more extreme weather, firefighters can spend days or even weeks in rescue and recovery efforts.

Dylan Cyr, vice president of the Aroostook North Fire Departments, said communities face an unfortunate reality.

"There's going to come a day that nobody's coming," Cyr stressed. "We're getting more and more calls, and less and less people to run those calls."

Cyr pointed out his departments have responded to more than 3,000 medical calls this year, and about 300 fire-related calls. He noted many departments still rely on word-of-mouth to recruit volunteers, but they are also increasing their social media presence and working to interest high school students, who might consider a two-year certification program rather than leaving town to get a four-year college degree.

The amount of training required to become a volunteer firefighter and maintain the certification prohibits many people from signing up. Some local governments offer volunteers a financial stipend for their training hours or on-call hours.

Sarah Lee, CEO of the National Volunteer Fire Council, said incentives like this are needed, as the lack of volunteers forces many departments to pool their resources and cover larger geographic areas.

"A lot of these small, rural communities are relying on volunteers to respond, and if they don't have enough people, then the response time is going to be even longer," Lee emphasized. "It's really important that they get people that want to step up and give back to their community."

The Maine Fire Chiefs Association is backing a Length of Service Award Program to reward career firefighters for their contributions, but it hasn't been fully funded by the state.


get more stories like this via email
In 2020, 35% of Idaho mothers had Medicaid at the time of their child's birth. (WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

With concerning trends emerging for pregnant and postpartum women, frustration is growing that Idaho lawmakers could end the session without …


Health and Wellness

Health advocates are promoting a package of bills this legislative session to make health care easier to get - and more affordable. The Care 4 All …

Social Issues

A new study from the University of New Hampshire found New England's LGBTQ+ residents experience higher rates of food insufficiency, the measure of …


According to the Center for American Progress, nearly nine in 10 employers, four in five landlords, and three in five colleges use background checks to screen for applicants' criminal records. (Yurii Kibalnik/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A large percentage of Missourians who could to have their criminal records "expunged" have not done so, despite the effects expungement -- referred …

Social Issues

A person's work personnel file can be important to review, but some Washingtonians are finding them hard to obtain. A bill in Olympia would ensure …

The most recent Farm Bill covered areas such as agricultural conservation, trade and foreign food assistance, farm credit and research. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

The U.S. Farm Bill is up for reauthorization, and Congress faces calls to avoid any delays so certain programs can keep helping farmers and consumers …

Social Issues

Youth advocates continue to sound the alarm over the impact flavored tobacco products have on teenagers, and hope Minnesota lawmakers take another …

Environment

As wildfire seasons in Colorado and across the American West become longer, less predictable and increasingly destructive, a new report aims to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021