Volunteer firefighters wanted in NJ

July 23, 2009 2:58:46 PM PDT
The Glassboro Fire Department is looking for a few good volunteers.Last year, the Glassboro Fire Department responded to nearly 750 calls, one of the busiest departments in Gloucester County, yet it finds itself doing more with less.

There are five paid firefighters and 27 volunteers and that number is down from 45 volunteers as recently as 10 years ago.

Glassboro Volunteer Chief Kristian Van Dexter says major demands on people's time has changed the volunteer picture. Like many towns throughout the state, Glassboro has a shortage and is running a recruitment video on its website Glassborofiredepartment.com

"We have a campaign, we have brochures printed up, we are trying to canvas the town, and just encourage people to join," Van Dexter said.

Officials say the town of 19,000 plus Rowan University has adequate fire protection largely due to reciprocal help from other communities.

Glassboro administrator Joe Brigandi says one answer is hiring more paid firefighters but that means higher taxes.

"We would like to be able to provide more to the public so we either need for volunteers or we need to find a way to fund the department," Brigandi said.

The department has a goal of attracting 10 new volunteers this year, so far four have heeded the call, but others have left, so the shortage continues.