Also mentioned in the study is an underlying problem you don’t need a consultant to figure out. Volunteer fire departments here in Bethlehem and elsewhere are dealing with a crisis of membership that is quickly becoming endemic.
This is likely to become even worse if current trends continue. Young people are quitting Bethlehem, the remaining population is growing older and families are being forced to work harder to make ends meet, meaning volunteers will increasingly be unable to leave work to answer calls (the study shows while nearly all firefighters are employed, far fewer respond from work — we’re told Town Hall tends to empty out when some departments receive a fire call, by the way).
So while we’d certainly encourage our readers to examine this report and, moreover, to attend tonight’s public meeting on the matter at the BC High School, we’d also suggest the best way to improve fire services in town may very well be with your own time or means. For more information on how you can volunteer for area fire or EMS services, visit www.joinemsfire.org.