When I speak to Volunteer Fire Departments, I always tell them that I have bad news. I explain that one: in the twenty-first century, they will continue to be greatly under-appreciated. Second, their responsibilities will only increase because national security will increasingly fall upon their shoulders.
Our Volunteer Fire Departments will serve as the platform of national security in the twenty-first century. As I have often written about the need for economic resilience, we also need resilience to the increasing threats to our basic security. A top-down manner of defense will not suffice in the oncoming years; the already existing infrastructure of our Volunteer Fire Departments provides the necessary flexibility and local proximity necessary to respond to a new generation of threats.
As is discussed in this article from Market to Market, volunteers make up the vast majority of our local firefighters. As a community, we must do a better job of not only financially supporting our local volunteer fire departments, but also increasing the opportunities for them to train for their oncoming duties, inspiring a younger generation to join their ranks, and also facilitating their ability to fully engage their responsibilities to their department.