Fire departments in Cumberland County say they’re trying to make college more affordable and cut down response times.
New Kingstown Fire Company says it is one of several firehouses in the area to start offering free room and board for college students who are willing to be volunteer firefighters.
Fire Chief Curtis Hall.says having people who live at the firehouse will make it easier – and faster – to respond to calls.
“It’s our job to show up with trained people to answer their call and complete whatever to need to have done,” Hall said.
“Right now we have to wait on members to come here to the station,” he said “If we had, or at some point when we have a full staff of six live-ins, we can get that first rig on the street right away.”
People who live at the firehouse would have access to the fitness room, living room and kitchen, as well as some quiet study areas.
However, “free” doesn’t mean “easy.” It takes more than 300 hours of training to become a volunteer firefighter and it requires a sense of dedication.
“It’s just astronomical to ask that of someone coming in,” Hall said. “They have to have that desire first and then the commitment to take that training so we can have a well-trained firefighter. If their heart and soul is into this, they’ll do great.”
Anyone interested in the program should call 717-766-4033.