County volunteer fire, medical services study heading toward completion

·1 min read

Jan. 27—Crawford County continues to move forward with efforts to increase staffing of volunteer fire and emergency medical services across the county.

A comprehensive study of the county's public safety services is nearing completion, according to Eric Henry, chairman of the Crawford County Board of Commissioners.

The study began last year and was funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

The volunteer fire service portion of the study has been completed, but is undergoing final review by the DCED, Henry said Wednesday. The fire service portion of the study is expected to be released in about a month, he added.

The volunteer emergency medical services portion of the study is awaiting some additional financial information before review by DCED, according to Henry.

Crawford County's Fire Safety Task Force will look at the study to see what may work in the county to get more volunteer firefighters.

"We're trying to make sure there is a future for public safety in the county," Henry said following Wednesday's work session of commissioners. "There is a huge shortage of volunteer fire department members. Ultimately, public safety falls on the townships" and boroughs.

The task force will look to find solutions locally for the future.

"It could be recruitment and retention," Henry said. "It could be sharing services. It could be group purchasing or ways to find better coverage."

Henry said he and county public safety officials were pleased that more than 70 local municipal government and area volunteer fire department officials met Monday to discuss issues at East Mead Township.

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.