The Wayback Machine: Volunteer Firefighters See Drastic Drop in Numbers Across Alaska

AFTER DECADES OF LOTS OF VOLUNTEERS... Number Of Alaskan Volunteer Firefighters Has Been Cut In Half Over Past Ten Years Statewide  Rate Of ...

AFTER DECADES OF LOTS OF VOLUNTEERS...

Number Of Alaskan Volunteer Firefighters Has Been Cut In Half Over Past Ten Years Statewide 

Rate Of Attrition Is Twice As Bad As National Rate   

Typical 1991 Local Training Of Volunteer Copper Valley Firefighters. 

Since 2014, the number of volunteer firefighters in Alaska has dropped by almost half, according to an Alaska Public Media story written by Thomas Copeland of Petersburg. 

The story interviews the head of the Alaska State Firefighters Association. It said that Justin Boddy described what it was like a decade ago. When volunteers were being trained. "you would have a packed house," he said. That is what it was like in the Copper Valley. 

1989 Country Journal 

In the mid-1980s, the number of trained volunteers who could respond to fires and medical emergencies was so high that Roger Maynard, the Trooper sergeant at the time, instituted a unique coordinated "Search & Rescue" system that worked to organize the volunteers so they wouldn't hurt themselves while helping others. The program was designed to use each volunteer's abilities to its best effort. 

***

The Copper River Country Journal printed long lists of volunteers, by community, so that families were aware of who had been trained. and lived nearby. 

List of EMS Volunteers, by Community in 1992. 


Volunteer firefighters, BLM staff, NPS staff, Troopers, Cross Road Medical Center, the school district and volunteer EMTs regularly trained together, practicing extricating child volunteers from buses, burning down junk buildings for practice, and upgrading their abilities. 

In the years that have passed, the number of volunteers in general – for firefighting and for EMS services – has drastically dropped throughout Alaska, and in the Copper River Valley. 

Page from 1989 Copper River Country Journal. 


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