Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Understanding the challenges facing volunteer fire and EMS departments

Four people wearing headphones sit around a table in a radio talk studio: A man front left is wearing a dark polo shirt with a fire department logo and shorts; a man front right is wearing a blue t-shirt with a fire department logo in white, a baseball hat, and khaki shorts; a man back left has short grey hair and is wearing a dark shirt with a fire department logo, and woman back right has brown hair and is wearing a blue shirt with a fire department logo
Evan Dawson
(foreground) Bill DiFabio, Matt Kelly, (background) Mike Sands, and Nancy Oppel on "Connections with Evan Dawson" on Monday, May 20, 2024
A smiling man with short dark hair wearing a blue button-down shirt and a grey blazer. He is holding a pair of eyeglasses. The word "Connections" appears on the left side of the photo in vertical letters.

When you or someone you know has an emergency, chances are some members of the emergency response team will include volunteers.

According to FEMA data, fire and EMS departments across the country are struggling with volunteer recruitment and retention. In addition, the data shows the average age of volunteers is increasing, training demands can be difficult to meet, and some volunteers struggle with work-life balance.

What does the situation look like in our region? This hour, we focus on EMS volunteering in the Finger Lakes. Our guests discuss the nature of their work, how it has changed, the challenges they face, and the value of their service in 2024.

Our guests:

Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.