Pa. Dept. Cuts Training Time to Attract Recruits


Officials with one Elk County fire department are hoping new training options will add new members to their crew.

Firefighters usually have to get 188 hours of training before joining a fire department.

But the Ridgway Fire Department is now offering a session that includes just 48 hours.

Department officials said their membership has gone down in recent years. They added that the new option could help get more people to sign up.

"We're giving them the bare bones class," said Chief John Wygant. "It will get people out where we need them, on the fire ground."

Volunteers using the program will be able to do basic tasks. They won't be able to enter burning buildings.

Officials said the new recruits will have the option for more advanced training. But they will have complete all 188 hours of training.

"They'll have to start from the beginning again," Wygant said. "We do offer some of that training in our classes, but they'll need to do all 188 hours."

The Ridgway Fire Department is offering the new classes on Wednesday evenings. To sign up, call them at 814-772-8085.

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