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Michiana Volunteer firefighter shortage

NILES, Mich – Volunteer firefighters are becoming scarce nationwide and in Michiana.

Many Fire departments in the Michiana region rely heavily pon volunteer firefighters, which have seen a decline in the last 30 years.

According to a study by the American Military University the number of volunteer firefighters has fallen 12 percent in the last 30 years.

The same study says approximately 60 percent of fire chiefs struggle to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters.

Along with helping fight fires the National Fire Protection Agency says they help city budgets by saving Billions of dollars.

Despite the shortage Niles Charter Township Fire Chief Gary Brovald says it’s not effecting wait times.

“For the most part we still maintain what we have, we find ourselves more and more having to call extra help from other departments just to get the manpower. On a structure fire we want a minimum of 15 people so if we can’t get it with our staff coming in we call mutual aid from another fire department” Brovald said.

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