EXETER TWP., Pa. - A local fire department is putting out the help wanted sign.
Firefighters are looking for volunteers who are eager to face new challenges, from smoke-filled hallways to water rescues, car accidents to medical problems. Fire service takes courage and dedication.
"Last year, we ran over 1,100 emergency responses," said Dep. Chief Chris Jordan, Exeter Township Fire Dept.
To keep up with that kind of demand, the Exeter Township Volunteer Fire Department in Berks County is once again looking for new volunteers.
"We recognized we had a problem where our volunteerism was declining and we needed to do something," said Jordan.
The department received a federal grant for recruitment in 2009, but it's taken it a step further, launching an advertising campaign. The department has posted billboards around the area saying, "Volunteers needed!"
"We usually ask them to put in at least four hours a week, and typically that is on a Tuesday evening at our normal drill night," said Jordan.
69 News caught up with the department for one of those training classes. It was an obstacle course of sorts that mimics a real-life scenario.
The gear alone weighs about 50-75 pounds, so volunteers must go through an aggressive training program, including 200-plus hours before they can qualify.
"It's a big commitment, but if you're really dedicated to the program, you'll go through that training," said Jordan.
And the chance to take advantage of some incentives. Men and women can earn cash, up to $8,000 a year.
"We also offer free gym memberships. We offer scholarship opportunities to college and high school students," said Jordan.
Every volunteer is vital to this operation, and every person who puts on the uniform is beneficial to the community.
Allentown, PA 18102