The Fraught Future Of Volunteer Firefighting : 1A Firefighters and fire departments perform a critical service in our communities, including responding to medical emergencies and helping mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

But more than 70 percent of fire departments are staffed by volunteers, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Volunteer fire departments are having to contend with dips in volunteerism and heightened standards for fire and emergency response teams.

All the while, climate emergencies are becoming more frequent and dangerous.

We discuss volunteer fire departments, and the demands and future of volunteer firefighting.

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The Fraught Future Of Volunteer Firefighting

The Fraught Future Of Volunteer Firefighting

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Marin County firefighters look on during controlled burn training in San Rafael, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Marin County firefighters look on during controlled burn training in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Firefighters and fire departments perform a critical service in our communities.

Not only do they prevent and extinguish structural fires, but they also respond to medical emergencies and help mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

That's why it may come as a shock to you that more than 70 percent of fire departments are staffed by volunteers, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Many of these volunteers respond to emergency calls part-time while balancing demanding full-time jobs.

Volunteer fire departments are having to contend with a variety of challenges, including dips in volunteerism and heightened standards for fire and emergency response teams.

All the while, climate emergencies are becoming more frequent and dangerous for all of us – including first responders.

What changes – if any – should the volunteer fire departments make to better support their responders?

Deputy Fire Chief of Training at D.C. Fire and EMS Department Tony Kelleher; freelance writer and fire and rescue responder based in New York's Hudson Valley Myke Cole; and Second Vice Chair of the National Volunteer Fire Council, storm chaser, and volunteer at the Brush Volunteer Fire Department in Brush, Colorado Paul Acosta join 1A Guest Host Indira Lakshmanan for the conversation.

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