Here’s how to attract more volunteer firefighters, EMTs
New Jersey fire companies are having trouble attracting volunteers. After talking with speaking with several volunteers both on New Jersey 101.5 as well as off the air, the problem seems to be that the current lifestyle of raising a family as well as trying to stay afloat in the expensive economy that is New Jersey, makes it harder for people to volunteer to take the extensive training, the same as the paid firefighters to risk their lives for nothing.
So what if we gave them a tax credit? I floated the number of $2000 per year for up to 12 volunteers in each town, and those that I talked to seemed to like it. Would it be worth it for you if you own an expensive home in a town in which has volunteer fire departments to pay an extra $24,000 per year? That way you know that you have a fully stocked and trained staff if ever you should need them. When you think of all the other things we're being taxed for, this seems like a wise investment. It doesn't have to stop there.
What if insurance companies stepped up and gave them a break on home and auto. Imagine that commercial! In fact they could write the discounts off to advertising because when word spread that they were doing that, business would go up faster than that lizard could climb into an engine with the caveman.
I come from a family of paid fire fighters. My father Albert was on the job for 30 years in Union City as was my Uncle Nick. My oldest friend Rob Pisani is a captain in the North Hudson Fire Department. After seeing what these men go through for a paycheck, my hat goes off to those who do it for nothing. It takes a special breed, and they need to be compensated somehow.
It's time to give the volunteer fighter of New Jersey a tax break, it's the least we can do.
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