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Protecting and Serving the Public through Volunteers: Old Traditions, New Challenges for Volunteer Fire and Safety Programs

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Recent events have made the public more aware of the role of volunteers in protecting lives and property during fires and emergencies. Throughout the U.S. and many other countries around the world, communities (particularly small, rural ones) depend on citizens to assume those duties. These volunteer roles demand extensive training, time and commitment. In these days of busy lives and young people leaving their small communities in large numbers, how are these all-volunteer or combination staff-volunteer fire stations faring? This article will examine the issues, and how these programs are adapting to changing times while remaining true to their volunteer roots!