Editorial: Region's firefighters deserve all the support they can get
You know how you know it’s summer in Western Pennsylvania?
It’s another good moment to praise volunteer firefighters (and first responders in general) and more importantly urge your continuing financial support of them.
You really have to stop and think about those two words to understand just how incredulous a pair they make: volunteer firefighter.
Someone who fights fires, enters buildings amidst the roar of deadly flames, withstands searing heat and suffocating smoke to save humans and pets, and participates in the choreography learned to try and save a burning house and protect the ones next to it.
In their spare time.
For no pay.
On behalf of people they might not even know.
You’re probably aware of the significant reduction in volunteer numbers. And that the average age of those volunteers is rising. You’re probably aware of the thousands of dollars it costs to train and equip the volunteers.
Some municipalities offer a sliver of tax revenue to help support their fire companies. And just last week, the Penn Township commissioners indicated they are likely to soon approve tax breaks for firefighters after a state law passed last year paved the way.
Other local governments have done the same.
Still, there should be continued pressure in the state’s legislative chambers to identify (and implement) ways to inspire and reward volunteers as well as provide their fire companies with overt financial support.
In the meantime, you can help alleviate the pressure on the steep costs associated with volunteer firefighters in different ways.
First, write a check. Five, fifty, a hundred dollars. It all counts.
Then be sure to support the burger bash, hoagie sale and fish fry; certainly, don’t miss the drag queen bingo.
And, of course, stroll on down to the firemen’s fair, plunk down a few bucks at the booths that directly benefit the fire department and buy a couple of raffle tickets whether you want that new truck or not.
Don’t take a minute to think about doing it, just do it. Thankfully, the volunteers you’ll be supporting never hesitate for a second when that alarm sounds.