Report: Investigating the Survival State of the Rural Volunteer Emergency Services

The number of volunteers in the emergency services of the South Central Mountains (SCM) region of Pennsylvania continues to decline. As the number of recruits is reportedly diminishing (as noted in alongitudinal research series and field interviews) and the available pool of trained volunteers ages rapidly, emergency service organizational leadership is faced with the need to examine how it motivates citizens to join their organizations as well as how to retain them.

This thesis examines survey data of regional emergency service volunteers and has determined a whole of community effort (fully-integrated among the local community, county, state and nation) is urgently needed to help organizational leadership gain capacity to overcome the challenges currently inhibiting effective recruitment and retention of emergency service volunteers. Finally, this research offers concluding evidence regarding a perceived “volunteer famine” suspected to be occurring in the SCM region of Pennsylvania’s emergency services.

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