Manheim Township Fire Rescue hired three full-time firefighters

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Manheim Township Fire Rescue is getting a much-needed addition to their team: three full-time firefighters.

In 1989, township officials predicted by 2000 they would need full-time firefighters.

Manheim Township Fire Rescue Chief Rick Kane said, "With the volunteer component and then the part-time component, we've been able to staff. But our call volume continues to increase and our needs continue to go up. So we finally come to the point where we need to put full-time on the schedule to ensure that we have adequate staffing here to cover the township."

So the township hired three full-time career firefighters.

Tyler Fleming, one of the full-time firefighters and EMTs, said, "Watched 'Emergency!' as a little kid and the events of 2001 really had a strong impact on my life."

Fleming is finishing his degree at Millersville while he works full time at the Rescue.

"Continue to train and be fully committed to the fire service. Focus full time all of the time to bettering myself," Fleming said.

Manheim Township is the first municipality to have a combination of full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters in the county.

Lancaster City Bureau of Fire has all full-time firefighters.

Kane said the volunteer system has decline across the region over the years.

He said, "Just a different dynamic today that really is what has taken the volunteers out of the volunteer fire service. It's just all the other things that are out there to do."

And he said hiring full-time firefighters may be the future for more departments.

"Either career or regionalization of departments is probably in the future in all metro areas, not just in Lancaster but in all of Central Pennsylvania," he said.

Manheim Township Fire Rescue plans to get two more full-time firefighters through a federal grant toward the end of the year.