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Annual Carlisle Fire and Rescue Service Carnival helps fundraise and recruit new members

CARLISLE, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- With at least 800 calls a year, one fire company in Cumberland County says it needs more people to help out at those scenes.

In an effort to find more volunteers, the Carlisle Fire and Rescue Service is using its main annual fundraising event to reach out to more people.

Though there is lots of fun to be had, this carnival is also about fundraising and recruiting. The service hopes to encourage more people to become a member of the fire department, in a time where firefighters say volunteerism seems to have dropped off.

Raffles, rides, games and some delicious food...

All to benefit the Carlisle Fire and Rescue Service and hopefully help them recruit more volunteers.

"Years ago, again, there was just a lot more volunteers in the service," said Randy Uhrich, President of Carlisle Fire and Rescue Service.

Whether its volunteering to help out in house, "There's administrative work to do, and then there's people if they just want to do fundraising," said Uhrich.

Or cooking up some food and selling tickets at the annual carnival, there's a job for anyone who is willing to donate their time.

Uhrich says there has been a drop in membership over the years.

"Many less volunteers. From when I first started in the fire service to now, the volunteer fire station in town used to be the community event for people to hang out," he explained.

Greg Pace has been volunteering for 52 years here, and says it's not just a problem in Carlisle.

"It's been a real big decline. It's a real big problem for all the fire companies," said Pace.

Pace says the hours of training required may be what is deterring people from joining, a minimum 110 hour course to become a volunteer firefighter.

Many of the volunteers we spoke with though, say the reward is worth it.

"As long as I can stay vertical, I'll be here," said Pace.

Volunteers, like Caleb Wilson, a new member and a junior firefighter, who is currently training to be able to enter burning buildings.

"If you want to, do it. You don't live that long, and you might as well give back to the community, do something," said Wilson.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire companies have seen a drop in volunteer firefighters all throughout the country.

Add on top of that, the number of calls have gone up, much like a carnival ride, and that increase has left departments spinning, looking for additional help.

"We could use anybody, come see us!" said Pace.

If you’d like to volunteer and are thinking of becoming a member, you can meet with borough firefighters at the Carlisle Fire and Rescue Service Carnival.

The annual event runs through Saturday.