As the number of fire calls increases year after year, the number of volunteer firefighters to answer those calls dwindles. Between retirements, scheduling conflicts and an overall loss in interest, Davidson County fire officials say local departments are short staffed and suffering, but wonder if there is a solution to this nationwide problem.
According to North Carolina Volunteer Workforce Solutions, since 2016, fire departments statewide have lost an average of 600 firefighters a year. In February, Davidson County Deputy Fire Marshal Jacob Thompson said in the past 15 years, the number of volunteer firefighters locally has been cut in half.
Nick Sledge, deputy chief of the North Lexington Triangle Fire Department said the decline is “quite obvious.”
“It’s not a Triangle problem, it’s not a Davidson County problem, it’s not a North Carolina problem. This is a nationwide problem,” Sledge said.