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Local Fire Departments Say They Face Staffing Presssures

D.C. metro area fire departments say they are losing volunteer firefighters because of the weakening economy, according to a study released today.

At least 60 percent of firefighters in the region -- represented by 45 local fire departments -- said that volunteer firefighters are leaving their ranks because they need to find paid work in the current climate, according to "Supporting Safer Communities: A National Firefighter Survey." The survey was sponsored by the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, an insurance company founded in 1863 that is a subsidiary of German financial company Allianz SE.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Research, was taken between Feb. 13 to Mar 31 by more than 17,000 firefighters from more than 9,400 departments nationwide. Among the local findings:

- At least 62 percent of local firefighters say there have been delays in replacing equipment.

- At least 64 percent of local firefighters say there have been delays in purchasing new equipment.

- At least 47 percent of local firefighters say there have been cuts or reductions in services.

D.C. Fire/EMS Chief Dennis Rubin and Chuck Kavitsky, of the Fireman's Fund, will talk more about the results at a press conference this morning at 11 a.m. at the Fire Station in the 400 block of New Jersey Avenue NW.

You can find the local, and national survery results, here. Stay tuned to washingtonpost.com for more updates.

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  May 19, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Browse By Writer , Crime and Public Safety , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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