If you live outside the City of Batavia in Genesee County, the ability of volunteer fire companies to get enough able-bodied manpower to your house in a timely manner if it ever caught on fire is reaching a crisis stage, Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator told members of the County Legislature today.
"We're out of time," Yaeger said. "If anybody says that we've got time, we don't. We're out of time."
Volunteer fire companies throughout the county are running on a bare minimum of staffing, many volunteers are past the age of retirement, and chiefs are getting burned out because there are few young firefighters with the training and experience to replace them.
Yaeger pulled no punches for the legislature and painted a pretty dire picture.
"You know you're out of time when the chair of the fire districts association is riding on an engine and he's well over sixty-five and he looks back and his crew is the average age of seventy-two years old and he thinks 'what do we do when we get there and it's actually an emergency?' The trucks go in. There are people on it. But can they do the job when they get there?"