Officials: East Prospect Fire Company facing ‘dangerously low’ membership

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EAST PROSPECT, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- Low membership: a York County volunteer fire company doesn't have enough firefighters to answer all of its emergency calls, and it could be forced to close if it can't attract new members.

Right now, the East Prospect Fire Company only has five active firefighters.

The fire chief says that’s not enough to answer emergency calls.

Now they’re taking to the streets in hopes of finding new members.

The East Prospect Fire Company has served the people of of this York County community for decades.
“The fire company’s been here 111 years, and we’d like to maintain it that way," said Chief Jerry Hanson.
According to Chief Hanson, it takes three people to operate one of these engines, and right now, there are only 5 active firefighters with the entire company.
“It’s hard on them, and it’s even harder because they want to do the job, but if two of them get here, and we don’t have enough people to really man a piece of equipment, so those two can’t even work," said Hanson.
Over the past several years, Chief Hanson says membership has declined, saying some people leave for paid firefighting positions.
Others don't have enough time to volunteer, and some just lose interest.
Because East Prospect can’t always respond to emergencies, neighboring fire companies pick up the slack.
The mayor says those extra minutes traveling to East Prospect can have an impact.
"That can be sometimes the difference between a total loss and minimal damage," said Mayor Matt Mann.
Some neighbors FOX43 spoke with aren’t too concerned about the company’s numbers.
"One thing I know, if they’re needed somewhere, Craley will come, Wrightsville, the others come. They all help each other," said Scott Zurin of East Prospect.
"It doesn’t really bother me too much unless I have a fire. We’re surrounded by Craley and Wrightsville so," said Trevor Fory of East Prospect.
They offer these reasons for the dwindling membership.
“We’re all busy now, and with me and my business and all, I don’t have the time.. I get home 8,10 o'clock at night," said Zurin.
“There’s no incentive or like drive for them unless they come from a firefighter family," said Fory.
It’s an issue the chief says many volunteer companies are facing..
“Perhaps in hindsight we were’t as responsive to it and as aggressive as we should have been, but we are now," said Chief Hanson.

Chief Hanson says there are benefits to joining - like helping others and training.

The company plans to give out pamphlets and smoke detectors in an effort to attract new members.
The company will be knocking on doors in the borough in the coming weeks. If you’re interested in volunteering in East Prospect,  the chief says you can message the company's Facebook or call 717-252-1273.
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