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Pa. council allows city workers, volunteers to respond to daytime calls

Greensburg officials allow city workers, who are volunteer firefighters, to respond to calls during workdays


Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook

By Quincey Reese
The Tribune-Review

GREENSBURG, Pa. — Greensburg council has made it easier for city workers who are volunteer firefighters to respond to emergency daytime calls.

Council approved a resolution Monday to permit volunteer firefighters who work city jobs to answer fire calls during the regular workday.

In Greensburg, 10 of the 15 public works employees are volunteer firefighters, said Fire Chief Tom Bell.

“We’re very fortunate that we have trained firefighters that work in the City of Greensburg,” Bell said.

The resolution is based on legislation approved by Penn Township in July 2023, Bell said. The resolution will not permit city employees to respond to every call, but will allow them to step in to assist with significant, “all hands on deck” emergencies.

“It’s not something that they just run around answering fire calls all day,” Bell said.

The Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department consists of about 300 volunteers across its six stations — located on McLaughlin Drive, North Pennsylvania Avenue, Alexander Avenue, West Otterman Street, East Pittsburgh Street and Highland Avenue.

Firefighters who are retired or work night jobs are often able to handle the city’s emergency call load throughout the day. Neighboring fire departments — like South and Southwest Greensburg, Hempfield and Mutual Aid — pitch in as needed, Bell said.

But, like volunteer fire departments across the state, Greensburg sometimes struggles with daytime staffing, said volunteer firefighter and Councilperson Gregory Mertz.

“Municipalities across the state are struggling to get volunteers and to be able to respond, especially during a 9-5 business day,” Mertz said. “We as Greensburg wanted to be open that we have people on staff who are capable to help.”

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