‘We need help for pretty much everything,’ Local volunteer fire company pushes to attract new recruits

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EAST LAMPETER TWP., Pa. - The Lafayette Fire Company is getting some help to try to attract new volunteers.

The volunteer fire department that covers an area near Route 30 east of Lancaster recently got a FEMA grant to help with online marketing and recruiting efforts.

They'll take firefighters as well as support staff.

"We need help for pretty much everything," Chief Scott Hershey said Monday. "We do everything. We're the administrators, we're the human resources, we have to pay the bills, we have to do the insurance, we have to do the fundraising. We're kind of the do-it-alls and that's a lot."

For a company that gets between 500 and 600 calls a year, with many of those often falling the same day, they say any help they can get would be great.

"They're ready to help out the community, and when it's down to two or three of them, or if only one or two show up, it puts a lot of stress on them because they have to carry the whole load," David Keens, a volunteer since 2004 who is now the deputy chief, said.

Keens estimates since he began, the department has lost more than half of its highly active volunteers, and about a third of its total volunteer force.

The company competes for attention with other activities for parents, as well as other worthy causes for fundraising dollars, he said.

"Everybody works; nobody responds from work," Hershey added. "If it wouldn't be for one or two fellows here that are retired and some swing shift workers, we wouldn't have anybody. We'd have to pursue career people, but then the taxes go up."

In spite of the challenges, firefighters say nothing beats the adrenaline rush they get from helping people.

"They are number one, alright, and believe me, the look that you see on that person's face when you're helping them in their time of need, it's unforgettable," Keens said.

Click here for more information on how to volunteer.