Orange firehouses struggle to find volunteersPosted: Updated:
Orange County fire departments that almost exclusively rely on volunteers are struggling to attract new recruits at a time when most people are looking for a steady paycheck.
Fire Chief Mark Slesinski, of the Florida Fire Department, says his fire company already lost 25 volunteers, and that can affect response time.
"I have calls where I have maybe eight people show up," Slesinski says. "[For] a working fire, we need 25 to 30 people."
Orange County Fire Coordinator John Horan says he is seeing shortages across the region.
"We'll get a lot of people coming in, but then they leave," Horan says.
Most local firehouses are equipped with state-of-the art gear and fire engines, but there are not enough volunteers to man them.
"What good is that equipment standing on the side of the road when I have no one to run the line and pump that water?" Slesinski says.