Small Massachusetts Towns Struggle to Attract Volunteer Firefighters

January 7, 2014

Several fire chiefs in small western Massachusetts towns say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain firefighters for their on-call and volunteer departments.

Worthington Chief Richard Granger says he responded to 14 calls in 15 days last month and for some of them, he was alone at the scene for several minutes.

He says his department has 20 volunteers, but many have out-of-town jobs, which makes response difficult.

Shutesbury Chief Walter Tibbetts says his department has just eight members, one of whom is at college out of state while another is on leave.

He tells The Daily Hampshire Gazette that life is so stressful and hectic these days, people can’t make the commitment.

Cummington Chief Bernard Forgea thinks the small-town value of serving the community has diminished.

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