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Pa. FDs partner to attract younger members to the fire service

Mahoning and Valley township fire departments joined together to give young people a look inside the fire service

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Valley Township Fire Department/Facebook

By Anna Wiest
The Daily Item

DANVILLE, Pa. — A simulation introduced interested youth to the elements of volunteer firefighting Tuesday night.

Mahoning and Valley townships fire departments worked together to create a real-life scenario in the hopes of inspiring young people to join their efforts.

“We are really trying to recruit young folks,” firefighter Eric Frantz said. “We are no different than anywhere else. Volunteer numbers continue to drop.”

Tuesday’s scenario simulated a car fire on the top deck of the parking garage at the Geisinger Woodbine Lane Facility.

Attendees had hands-on experience with trucks and equipment by running a hose line from the hydrant to the standpipe where water would be transferred to the top level of the parking garage, Frantz said.

About ten young people attended the event and were eager to learn. “I saw the flyer in school and was really excited to come,” Calvin Wagner, 17, said. “I’m looking forward to learning about it.”

Through these simulations and efforts at the Danville Area High School, local departments hope to increase interest in their work.

“Right now, we are sometimes lucky to have two people during the day,” Frantz said.

Members of the departments have started a club in the Danville Area School District and gone in to talk to classes.

“We are trying to get kids to understand what volunteer firefighting is all about,” Frantz said.

Of the 650 students currently enrolled in the Danville Area High School, six volunteer. Frantz said he would like to get the number up to around 40.

The Valley Township Fire Department only has one junior firefighter, according to Fire Chief Matt Gum.

Those interested in volunteering with the departments can contact Frantz at DanvilleHSFire@gmail.com.

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