Yesterday a report was released by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania discussing the status of Emergency Services in Pennsylvania. It is a long awaited report. Departments across the commonwealth are in trouble with manning and support by local governments. Volunteerism has been on the decline for the past 15 years and is at alarming numbers. Finally, people are looking to see what can be done. Many people put the blame on the politicians. Some people blame the emergency services departments. The blame lies with both and we are at battle stations to try and save volunteer services in Pennsylvania.
Shrewsbury Volunteers realized years ago you cannot survive by fighting amongst yourselves in the department and you need the support of the public and your municipality. Without this triad of of cooperation (Members, Public, Government) you are doomed. Shrewsbury Volunteers prides themselves in keeping the public informed via multiple methods which include documents, social media, public interaction and obviously good service to the end user, you. Technology is also a part of our interaction. We have an electronic application for your Android and iPhone device to see what is going on in the region. Go to your application store and search Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company and download the app.
Shrewsbury Volunteers are fortunate by having a good interaction with our municipalities: Shrewsbury Borough and Shrewsbury Township. A strong department starts with a strong base. We work hand in hand with our government officials. We continually discuss our operations, issues and plans with them and in turn they support us. Our department is blessed to be supported by local fire taxes with both municipalities. All parties have realized local fund drives and fundraisers just cannot support emergency services agencies in today’s world. Volunteers who give their time and effort cannot be asked to spend more time fundraising than training or responding to incidents. Our volunteers work one, two or even three jobs to keep their family’s afloat. They give their extra time to help you, the public, during emergencies. By initiating fire tax support the burden of hours and hours of fundraising is released. Available time is now focused on training and responses to calls. By no means have we lost contact with the public however. We hold three events a year to keep involved with the public and try to raise money for capital projects such as a new fire station or apparatus. In the spring we hold a golf tournament, the summer our annual Fireman’s Carnival and in the fall our very successful Fall Fest. Throughout the year we are involved in public safety education and fire prevention events. We are always available and ready to help.
Our local governments have realized there are other avenues to assist our department survive. Shrewsbury Township and Shrewsbury Borough have initiated a Tax Credit Incentive program to all members who are active with local emergency services agencies. The Commonwealth of PA offers a program to give volunteers tax breaks on either local earned income tax or local real estate taxes. This is a “Recruitment and Retention” program to help keep the limited number of volunteers in many departments. Shrewsbury Volunteers is very grateful to our local government for taking the lead and establishing this incentive program. Other efforts between our department and local government are in place to keep our fire department stable but one thing still remains paramount: we need volunteers.
Every volunteer fire company in the area is looking for help. Are you willing, able and ready to do that? We need help in multiple areas of the department. They include emergency responses, non-emergency details, directing traffic (Fire Police), administrative assistance to keep us running as well as help in raising funds. Do you have some extra time? Can you help? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and let us know.
Thank you for following us on our webpage and social media. You can find us on Facebook under Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Co. You can also watch what is going on in the area by downloading our app on Android and iPhone. Search Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Co. in your app store.
Thank You again to our local government officials and state representatives/senators for supporting us. Thank YOU, the public for following us and supporting our efforts. Without all of you we would not be here.
See the status of volunteerism in Pennsylvania by clicking on the link below. Stay safe and in touch.