WFSB's Kevin Hogan Highlights Rep. Boyd's Work to Bolster Volunteer Firefighter Recruitment Efforts

November 3, 2021

Cities and towns are in need of volunteer firefighters


POMFRET, CT (WFSB) -- Giving back to your community as a volunteer firefighter is in itself a dire need these days.

This comes as time constraints and career demands take priorities in many young families.

Statewide, the future is bleak, as older volunteers are no longer able to “answer the call.”

“I found it one of the best ways to actually contribute to your community and give back,” said State Rep. Pat Boyd, who is also a 14-year veteran volunteer firefighter in Pomfret.

He joined simply because someone asked.

“Volunteerism is the best deal that towns have. But we need to make a plan going forth if the manpower is just not there,” Boyd said.

He said Pomfret is a perfect example of what’s happening to the aging volunteer force.

Twenty years ago they had 67 members, but now there are just 27 active.

Bolton fire is also seeking new recruits.

“We sometimes need more bodies than we have in town. We need more people to assist depending on the nature of the emergencies,” said Derek May, assistant fire chief.

Many times, towns call for mutual aid. That’s where neighboring town fire companies help answer the call.

The story is a little different in Voluntown; in the rural community, the fire chief said they have coverage at night, yet not during the day.

Many towns are converting to paid departments because families are working dual jobs and often times not in the town where they live.

So, municipalities are offering incentives for volunteer firefighters. Some include property tax breaks, health insurance, and even a pension plan.

“We need more. The folks that we’ve got are aging. We need some new blood to come in,” May said.

A fire and EMS summit has been set for Dec. 2 and 3 in Niantic. It’s not designed to solve the problem but intended to look at the options and models for local fire departments.

If you're looking to volunteer, you can reach out to the following departments:

Pomfret Fire Dept.

Voluntown Fire Dept.

East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Company Inc.

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