Carbon County fire departments need more volunteers, officials say.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board adopted a proclamation proclaiming Oct. 6-12 as Fire Prevention Week. This year's National Fire Prevention Week theme is "Prevent Kitchen Fires."
The proclamation talks about the importance of being prepared in case of a fire and how to keep children safe from cooking fire related injuries.
John McArdle, Nesquehoning fire chief and president of the Carbon County Firemen's Association and Fire Chiefs' Association; and Jay Michalik, assistant fire chief for Mahoning Valley Fire Department, accepted the honor on behalf of the county fire companies.
Michalik said that volunteer fire companies are struggling with getting younger volunteers.
"There is a noticeable decline in the amount of volunteers," he said. "People used to understand that volunteering helped build and strengthen and sustain communities as a whole."
He noted that volunteers help cut costs for municipalities and the county.
He urged everyone to get involved in helping fire companies by either volunteering as a firefighter or by helping to do fundraising efforts to keep the companies operational.
Michalik commended the volunteers who have devoted their time to their communities.
"The people responding have families, children, and activities," he said. "They are employed, some are running their own businesses, some have two or three jobs. The difference is though that they find the time, they make the time. We're asking the residents of Carbon County to reach out and become involved and active. We can't assume someone else is going to do it. The communities need volunteers more than ever."
McArdle echoed Michalik's thoughts, saying that because of the decline in volunteers, companies must depend on automatic aid to sometimes even get the minimum firefighters needed to fight a fire.
He recognized the employers in the county who allow these volunteers to leave when there is a fire call.
McArdle then stressed that there are other things a person can do to help fire companies if they don't want to fight fires. To learn more about ways to help or to volunteer, just visit your local department, most likely in the evenings, or speak with any firefighter in your community.
Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, who is a volunteer firefighter, thanked McArdle and Michalik for attending the meeting.
He spoke about the amount of dedication that is involved in being a volunteer firefighter, including the numerous hours of training and the rising costs associated with it.
Commissioners Thomas J. Gerhard and William O'Gurek also thanked the volunteers for helping their communities.
In other matters, the commissioners received communication from T&M Associates for an application from Tihali Wind Turbine LLC of Brick, N.J., for the installation of 80 wind turbines on the Broad Mountain north of Lansford, Summit Hill and Nesquehoning in the borough of Nesquehoning and Packer Township.
The wind farm will be located on 3,349 acres of land owned by John Kovatch IV, as reported by the TIMES NEWS last month after Mark Buchvalt, an engineer with T&M Associates, went before Nesquehoning Borough Council.
Once completed, the wind turbine electric generators would produce 220 million watts of power annually. No date on when the project would begin was announced.