With the start of the New Year, the three volunteer fire departments in South Brunswick are reaching out to residents who want to join as firefighters.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the number of volunteers has gone down about 10% since the mid-1980s, while the number of emergency incidents that fire departments respond to has increased almost 300% during that time.
Nationwide, there has been a significant loss of volunteer firefighters over the last 30 years, according to information provided by the township.
The fire departments in the township have experienced the same trends.
“Unfortunately, we have witnessed firsthand how difficult it can be to retain our current firefighters and recruit new ones,” Chief John Luck of the Kingston Volunteer Fire Company said in the statement.
“There are a variety of reasons why people don’t choose to volunteer. With our busy lives these days, a lot of people just don’t have the time to commit,” Chris Perez, chief of the Kendall Park Volunteer Fire Company, said in the statement. “When you consider full-time jobs, with some people working more than one job to make ends meet, going to school, taking care of family members, the list is endless. A lot of people can’t fit in any other commitments, especially volunteering.”
Per the NFPA, about 67% of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.
All combined, the three township fire departments have served the community for a total of 248 years, according to the statement.
“Many residents in South Brunswick don’t know they are served by volunteers, which also makes it difficult to recruit new members,” Luck said in the statement.
“Those individuals who volunteer to serve and protect are carrying on the legacy of the American Fire Service,” Scott Smith, chief of the Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Department, said in the statement. “Without question, there is something truly special about helping your neighbor in their greatest time of need.”
The Kendall Park, Kingston and Monmouth Junction Volunteer fire departments are looking for residents between ages 16 and 45 who want to serve their community. No prior experience is necessary and all training is provided free of cost.
The fire departments offer numerous incentives to join, including a length of service award plan, college scholarships, and life insurance coverage, among others.
To discuss the application process and membership requirements, contact the Kendall Park Volunteer Fire Company at 732-297-0388, ext. 3, or www.kpvfc.org; the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department at 609-924-1181 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or the Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Department at 732-329-2001 or email@example.com