Volunteer fire fighter task force

In April Gov. Mike DeWine announced the formation of the Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service to study and make recommendations to improve volunteer fire service in Ohio.

“You never know when you may need emergency services, but you want to make sure that when you do need them, they are fast and efficient,” DeWine said. When remarking about the task force, the governor was joined by Ohio Department of Commerce Director Sherry Maxfield, State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon and others.

Data collected by the Division of State Fire Marshal shows more than half of registered fire departments in Ohio are staffed by volunteers. While there has been a 6.5% decrease in the number of volunteers in the state since 2018, there has been a continual increase in the number of emergency calls.

“As a career firefighter, I know the fire service is rooted deep in tradition, but the challenges of today can only be addressed through forward-thinking, innovative solutions. There is no single greatest issue of concern, for the volunteer firefighter service there are many – and together, they are creating challenges never before seen,” Reardon said. “This is not only an Ohio issue, this is a national problem, but Ohio can and will serve as an example.”

Potential issues the Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service will examine include:

  • Recruitment of volunteers.
  • Financial stability of volunteer fire departments.
  • Training issues.
  • Resource assessment, and
  • Long-term stability of the volunteer fire department structure.

State Fire Marshal Reardon is the task force chair.

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