Volunteer Firefighters and EMS

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced today that he has introduced legislation to strengthen support for the thinning ranks of volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel. Vermont’s 5,600 volunteer firefighters and the nation’s 800,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service personnel “deserve our strong support,” Sanders said today at a news conference at the Shelburne Fire Department. “I want the federal government to be a partner in community efforts to keep our volunteer fire departments fully staffed and ready to respond when needed.” The tradition of emergency responder volunteerism is “in danger of weakening and possibly even dying out,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. Nationwide, the ranks of volunteer firefighters have dropped more than 10 percent from their peak in 1984.