Maine's rural fire departments face shortage of volunteers, lack of training

Maine's rural fire departments face a shortage of volunteers and a lack of training. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- Lawmakers and firefighters held a press conference Wednesday to support funding for the bill that will provide money for recruitment and training.

Maine's rural areas face a shortage of volunteers and a lack of training.

Maine is one of few states with no central fire training facilities for firefighters.

Lawmakers say in order to keep themselves and citizens safe, they'll need funding for proper training.

State representative say firefighter facilities are underserved and the bill will help Maine fire departments rebuild.

"This really does do what we want, is recruit and retain and build comradery. One you've built that people will jump through walls for you. And that's what we need,” Tim Theriault, state rep., fire chief of China, said.

"They’re looking for a place to go get training and it cost a commitment to drive 2-3 hour to go to one place to get trained. It's a hardship for volunteers. And with this bill it will have it so that we're within one hour will have a place to go get training,” Ken Desmond, president of the Maine State Federation of Firefighters, said.

The bill has passed in the Senate and will go through the House Wednesday.

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