Volunteer fire departments struggling to find enough firefighters

MEDINA, OH (WOIO) - Medina Fire Chief Bob Painter said his department recently lost six firefighters because they retired or moved away.

That's left him with a gap that's been hard to fill, mainly because his department is part-time.

"A lot of the younger guys we hire, they are career oriented. They want to get a full-time position somewhere, and they do that," said Painter.

The Medina Fire Department is not unique.  Volunteer and part-time fire departments locally and nationally have been having a tough time finding enough firefighters to fill their staff.

Overall, most fire department chiefs say there are fewer candidates to choose from, but still enough to fill full-time positions.

The Medina Fire Department covers 64 square miles and services Medina Township, in addition to Montville Township. 

They have 38 people right now, and would like to get up to about 50.

Painter says there has been no delay in service time as a result of being down six firefighters, and that right now a committee is looking into plans to create a full-time staff with a joint fire district between Medina, Medina Township and Montville Townships.

The new fire district could be in place by the fall.

"They are trying to piece something together that makes sense with the dollar amount that we have without putting a burden on the taxpayers," added Painter.

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