Not enough volunteers to staff station

Port Clyde fire station may close

By Juliette Laaka | Feb 18, 2014

St. George — St. George Fire Chief Tim Polky said if the town cannot recruit three additional firefighters for the Port Clyde fire station, the location may close.

As of now, there are zero volunteers available for the location, and keeping the station open may not be an option unless additional recruits come forward, he said.

St. George has a roster of 25 volunteers that staff the Route 73 station and the Tenants Harbor station. Nobody at those locations is willing to go to Port Clyde, he said, adding last year, there were 35 volunteers.

Five volunteers would be ideal to work from the Port Clyde station, especially considering if a response was needed from the islands off Port Clyde, he said.

Response time to emergencies could be affected if the station was to close, although the town would still meet insurance regulations requiring a station within a 5-mile radius, he said.

He said volunteers live in other sections of town and many firefighters respond to calls from their homes. He added the department has always had difficulties recruiting volunteers to man the Port Clyde station.

Polky said volunteers are either leaving the department or not joining because of additional training requirements, and the fact that many volunteers are getting older.

"The average age is 50," he said. "That wasn't the case years ago."

Interest from younger generations is lacking, he said, because of too many distractions, and not enough time.

The minimum training required to become a firefighter consists of 125 hours of practical work and classroom study. The training is done in-house, and is paid for by the town, he said.

Polky said he is hoping to have the subject discussed at town meeting in May.

If interested in joining the department, contact Polky at 372-8581.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.

Staff Profile

Juliette Laaka
Reporter
594-4401 ext. 118
Email Me

Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.

Recent Stories by Juliette Laaka