School Closings And Delays

Getting Creative To Recruit Firefighters

HUGHESTOWN -- Firefighters say it's getting more and more difficult to recruit new volunteers with longer and more expensive class requirements.

A local fire company got creative to bring in more members.

Some of the volunteers at Hughestown Hose Company say they actually get double takes when they tell people they live in a fire department.

"One minute you're hanging around some of your best friends, maybe playing some games and just talking, and then that bell goes off, the mood completely changes," said Patrick Kaczmarczyk.

Patrick has been living for free at the station for five years. He's a nursing student at Wilkes University saving roughly $14,000 by rooming there. He also received free firefighting training as a live-in.

"I became a nationally certified firefighter and EMT through Pennsylvania through absolutely no cost out of my pocket."

And he's not the only one. Three other volunteers live there and now the live-in program is expanding. There's room for three more if they're willing to volunteer with the department.

"By having someone here 24/7 really has brought in some new volunteers because there's always someone here," Kaczmarczyk said.

The fire chief says the company has more active volunteers than most with about 20 to 25 regular members but still, 20 years ago when class requirements for becoming a firefighter were less time-consuming and costly, there were about 30 to 35 regular volunteers.

"The fire service is almost at an all-time low, especially the volunteer fire service. We're just at a point in time when people are working multiple jobs to survive and people just don't have as much time as they used to," Kaczmarczyk added.

Another positive of the program is that at any given time, there are one to four regular volunteers there, which means that the trucks can get out to emergencies more quickly.

"It cuts down response time. You get better protection in the area. I love it," said Hughestown resident Mike Lizonitz.

To get more information on how to volunteer, call 570-654-4188.

5 comments

  • Ryan williams

    Too many for someone who drinks on the job and they are going to be harder when you are drink or even have been drinking I guess you dint have time with all those beers on the firetrucks

    • DJB

      If the hose company offers free English lessons Ryan you should jump at the chance. Your writing is that of a 3rd grader.

  • Ryan williams

    Sorry your dad was an alcoholic and was drinking when he should have been sober incase he had to save lives and showed his kid it was ok to be an alcoholic or even drink on the job also I’m sorry that that was the best times you had was drinking with someone that should have been sober because the lives of alot of people were in his hands I’m glad is not like that anymore

  • miss those days

    Too many tests, certifications, ridiculous training, etc. etc. Nobody has time for that stuff nnowadays. I can remember the good ol’ days when my Dad would throw me in a firetruck along with a sixpack of beer for himself and I had the greatest experience a young boy could have.

    • Ryan williams

      Sorry your dad was an alcoholic and was drinking when he should have been sober incase he had to save lives and showed his kid it was ok to be an alcoholic or even drink on the job also I’m sorry that that was the best times you had was drinking with someone that should have been sober because the lives of alot of people were in his hands I’m glad is not like that anymore

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