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  • Recruiting woes

    HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - Some volunteer fire and rescue squads are
    struggling for numbers in rural Nebraska.
    Reasons for the decline include older members of the squads
    retiring, extensive training requirements and people with busy
    lives unwilling to take their place.
    For example, the Edgar Volunteer Fire Department is down 12 from
    its possible 32 members, the Hastings Tribune reported.
    In Superior, city ordinances allow the volunteer fire department
    to have 50 members plus a chief. Right now, the squad has 34
    members, including Chief John Rogers. Of those, at least three are
    older than 65.
    The fire department in Hastings is authorized to have 32 reserve
    firefighters but has 12. The number of career firefighters in the
    city is down three - one from each shift.
    Fully staffed departments in a six-county area of Nebraska and
    Kansas are the exception, not the rule, Fire Chief Kent Gilbert
    said.
    "It's a time crunch," Gilbert said. "People are very busy
    with work and it's hard to volunteer for most things."
    Reserve firefighters in Hastings are paid an hourly wage for
    their duty. One reason Hastings does not have a full complement of
    firefighters is retention, with career firefighters leaving for
    other departments or different careers, Gilbert said.
    Holstein Fire Chief Ron Harris said his department for the last
    year has been down about eight firefighters.
    Hastings Rural Fire Chief Ken Steins is at full staff with 28
    firefighters.
    "We're an exception to the rule," Steins said. "We've got a
    good group of young farm kids."
    At Harvard, too, there have been enough firefighters, with 33
    currently available, Fire Chief Keith Keller said. The department's
    maximum would be 40 firefighters and 10 supplemental.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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