Committee targets volunteer firefighter shortage

July 28, 2016

Group also looking at rural EMS first responders

By Ed Byrne The Brillion News

MADISON – The state legislature has formed a Legislative Council study committee to look at the shortage of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the state, and the group begins its work on July 26, with a meeting on Tuesday, July 26, in Madison.

State Senator Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, chairs the committee and considers the shortage of critical importance to rural areas.

“The shortage is a problem that exists all over the state, and it’s not even just Wisconsin,” Nass said.

The committee is charged with identifying the challenges involved and proposing solutions to fix them.

“People’s time is filled with work, second jobs, family, kids … and other commitments,” Wrightstown Fire Chief Mike Schampers said. “There’s a substantial time commitment just to become a fireman. Just to get your Firefighter I state level certification takes 120 hours of school, and you have to pass the class … the classes are such that you can’t miss any of them. If you miss a class, it’s pretty likely you’re not going to pass the state test.”

And all of that is for the right to volunteer.

Schampers said the time commitment is so significant that it shows how dedicated a person is when he volunteers.

“It’s really all about the time,” he said. “That’s always going to be the issue.”

Schampers said the committee needs to look at how training is delivered to volunteer firefighters.

Please see the complete story in the July 28, 2016 edition of The Brillion News. 

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