The borough is moving ahead with a plan to allow associate members to assist the shrinking volunteer fire department on calls by providing food, drinks and other support during rescue efforts.
Officials introduced an ordinance Tuesday night that would add a new article to the borough’s code in order to create an associate corps. The membership would allow those that wish to be a part of the department but can’t devote the required amount of time to still take part by assisting the regular volunteers with calls and events.
According to the ordinance, the associate members could assist firefighters on calls by providing food, drink and other comfort during firefighting and rescue efforts.
They would also be able to take part in promoting social interaction within the organization and community, assist with events, such as Fire Prevention Week and participate in parades, the ordinance states.
The associate members would serve as a support crew for a department that has lost 15 firefighters since March — 12 by resignation and three of whom were terminated for non-compliance of by-laws.
The drop-off of firefighters had caused concern among residents at a meeting earlier this month, but Fire Chief Richard Giarratana said the department still had a sufficient number of members: 36.
But despite Giarratana's remarks, some former members have blamed the department's leadership for their departure.
On a recent report on Patch regarding the establishment of an associate membership, challenged the leadership of the fire department.
The fire chief said many resigned because those volunteers were unable to meet the required amount of hours, as well as extensive training that is needed.
But Mike Christensen, one of the volunteers who recently resigned, told Patch it wasn’t an inability to make calls that led him to resign but rather his concerns with safety and leadership in the department.
A public hearing on the ordinance is planned for the Tuesday, July 10.
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