Volunteer Firefighters As Fewer People Become Volunteer Firefighters, Departments Must Embrace Change By Sarah Kovash • Dec 21, 2018 Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA Listen Listening... / 4:26 In Pennsylvania, unless you live in a big city like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg or Erie, your fire department is almost certainly made up of volunteers. Sharp Decline In Volunteer Firefighters Inspires Legislation To Court New Ones By Kathleen J. Davis • Dec 1, 2017 Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo In the 1970s, Pennsylvania had 300,000 volunteer firefighters, according to the State Fire Commissioner. That number has dropped to about 50,000, leaving some volunteer stations stretched thin and communities underserved. Rep. Costa Supports Bill To Waive Background Check Fee For Emergency Services Personnel By Sarah Schneider • May 29, 2015 Area representatives are supporting a bill that would waive background check fees for paid and volunteer firefighters and emergency response personnel. Sounding The Alarm For Volunteer Firefighters By Kate Lao Shaffner | Keystone Crossroads • May 6, 2015 Kate Lao Shaffner / WPSU The idea of volunteer fire departments originated in Pennsylvania and it's certainly a hallmark of the state: around 90 percent of Pa.'s fire departments are volunteer. But these departments are facing big challenges. Volunteer numbers are down and for many municipalities, funding is an ongoing headache.