Even as we battle the Covid 19 pandemic, the need for volunteer firefighters to protect our community continues to grow. To meet that need, the South Lebanon Fire Department launched an exciting new campaign to recruit those much needed volunteers.
A brainstorming questionnaire for members of all three fire companies—South Lebanon Fire Company No. 1, Friendship Fire Company of South Lebanon and Prescott Community Fire Company—led to the creation of a new slogan: Train with Us. Volunteer with Us. Be your Community’s Lifesaver. And the biggest recruitment tool is a new website: www.fightsouthlebanonfires.org.
Some 90 percent of firefighters in the state are volunteers and the number of volunteers has been shrinking, according to the Pennsylvania Fire & Emergency Services Institute. There were more than 300,000 volunteer firefighters in the state in the 1970s. Now they number about 38,000. There are many reasons for the lack of volunteers, including the increase of dual income households and the demands on people’s time.
“We are looking for new volunteers to serve as firefighters in the South Lebanon Fire Department,” said Jamie Yiengst, Township manager. “Our volunteer crews are as busy as ever and more volunteers means a safer community for everyone. There is an incentive program for volunteers meeting certain requirements, plus you will have the bonus of helping others when they need it most. Training and gear are provided free, you supply your skills, time and effort. There are three fire stations within the Township with experienced, educated firefighters who want to welcome you to their group and help you learn the ropes.”
And many volunteers gain intense satisfaction when they help their community by volunteering with a fire company.
“We have the broadest scope of disciplines within the fire service,” said Robert Donley, president of the Friendship Fire Company and an active firefighter. “We have truck, rescue and engine operations. We also have the greatest diversity of environments, from heavy urban areas to completely rural to forested areas. We also have one of the most dedicated training schedules and train more than most any other company in the area.”
Matt Feener, an active firefighter with the Prescott Community Fire Company, said, “Working together for the common good, always putting others first, responding to people in times of need with real assistance, is an effort that is met with reward and gratitude not found in many other activities.”
“Giving back to my community as a volunteer firefighter has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have been a part of,” said William Weikel, a lieutenant at South Lebanon Fire Company No. 1. “When you volunteer, you not only gain a position, you gain a family—a family that goes to fight for you no matter the circumstance.”
- Firefighter: Train to save citizens lives during fires and other emergencies, protect property and bring calm to chaos during the most difficult times. We will train you, gear you up and get you ready to action in our area’s urban, industrial, suburban and farmland terrains.
- Drivers: Transport firefighters and equipment safely to fire calls as a trained truck, engine and rescue apparatus driver. Drivers are an important part of our volunteer team.
- Cadet: Teenagers who are 16 or 17 years old can learn about the fire service and provide assistance at a fire and at the firehouse. The Cornwall Lebanon School District allows cadet firefighters to use their service toward senior projects. Many cadet firefighters become senior firefighters when they turn 18.
- Contributing Member: Showcase your skills and interests working on special projects, events or in an administrative role at the fire company. Tell us what you like to do and we will point you toward a volunteer role that suits your talents.
To help with its new, recruitment campaign, South Lebanon Township hired The Communication Solutions Group, a full-service public relations and marketing firm based in Jenkintown. The company has successfully run numerous recruitment and retention campaigns for fire and rescue organizations. For the South Lebanon Fire Department, the firm designed the new website and will be spearheading the recruitment campaign using brochures and social media.
Because all work is funded by a grant from FEMA, the campaign will be implemented at no cost to taxpayers,
For more information visit: www.fightsouthlebanonfires.org
Editor’s note: To set up an interview with the Township about this campaign, please contact The Communication Solutions Group at (215) 884-6499.