Vanishing Firemen – An American Tragedy

This is a story that must be told. We in the fire service are well aware of our problems.


This is a story that must be told. We in the fire service are well aware of our problems. I myself have been writing about them for nearly 25 years. Many times I have been accused of preaching to the choir. Well folks, it is time to go out beyond the confines of our fire service home and take a look at the crisis that is eating away at America, one small bite at a time.

The story that follows is a pure work of fiction. I have never attended a fire with the exact same scenario that I am about to share with you. However, each part of this has happened to someone. We all know that we are short of members. We all know that people are more transient than ever before. People move from place to place, searching for the perfect job, or the perfect home, or the best school system.

Fire protection is suffering. People who were brought up in the tradition of small town America knew and understood the need to volunteer for the local fire and EMS units. A new breed of people is at work. They are like the nomads of the desert, constantly moving, constantly searching for a better place to set up their tents.

These are not the sorts of people who tend to join our local volunteer fire departments. They simply expect someone else to take care of their emergency needs. They are too busy to be bothered to join a local fire department. Therefore, our local fire departments just limp along, struggling to keep their rosters filled, struggling to get the rigs on the road.

Most of the time they manage to get the job done. However, sometimes they do not. Sometimes the fire gets a jump on them. Sometime people are placed in harm