Patterson Fire Chief Phil Graeser Talks About The Declining Number Of Volunteer Firefighters

(Published by Matt Drzik)

“This is the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been a fireman.”

The “worst”, as described by Patterson Township fire chief Phil Graeser, is the number of volunteer firefighters giving their service at departments such as Patterson Township and throughout Beaver County. Graeser sat down with Matt Drzik on the January 5 edition of A.M. Beaver County to discuss why these numbers are down, and he said that the reason behind the declines are simple if unfortunate.

“Being a volunteer fireman has very few benefits,” Graeser said. “It’s a volunteer thing, and nobody has the spare time to do those sorts of things.”

Graeser calls the situation “close to dire” when it comes to running out of volunteer staff, and that it will take “a few big steps” in order to restore it. Elements that could help in that realm could be financial help, education outreach, and possible incentives for firefighters who choose to join.

But despite the dour situation, Graeser still feels that the positive from helping out is worth it all. “There may not be many benefits, but the feeling you get in your heart and in your soul when you go somewhere and you cut somebody out of a car or have done CPR, or put a fire out or rescue someone…that makes my day for a month. I feel good inside, and every fireman I know feels the same way.”

To watch the full conversation with Phil and Matt, click on the Facebook feed below.