SHENANDOAH COUNTY-- A new grant is looking to increase the number of volunteer fire fighters in the county. The numbers have decreased by about 30% in the last decade, according to Chief Gary Yew.
The grant is called the Workforce Solutions Program, and the money comes from the U.S. Fire Administration. The grant is used to figure out who to target when recruiting for volunteer fire fighting. Yew said in the past, they used a broad approach to find people. With the grant, they have research that shows them specific ways to target people.
With the downturn in volunteers, Yew said it's affected how the department functions. "As a result, we've had to hire more people. We've had to modify our responses to make sure we get enough people on the incidents, so it makes a huge difference," he said.
He's not sure how much the grant is right now, but he said this will be helpful. This is the second year the department has received the grant.