Firefighter and EMS personnel volunteer shortage throughout Mont - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Firefighter and EMS personnel volunteer shortage throughout Montana

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LAUREL, Mont. -

We appreciate the firefighters and EMS personnel who work so hard to serve our communities. 

Donny Morton, Director at Large MEMSA at the Laurel Fire Department, says more than 90-percent of fire departments and EMS units are volunteers in Montana. The problem is getting people to sign up as firefighters and EMS personnel.

Morton says there's not just a shortage in Yellowstone County, but it's happening statewide. He adds, priorities have changed and there's a lot required of emergency personnel now.

Instead of putting in an eight-hour shift, volunteers are workings nearly 20 hours. He says switching to full-time fire departments and EMS units won't work because of funding.

"There's no way that the smaller communities across Montana can go to a full-time fire departments or EMS department. The larger communities, that's budgeting tight anywhere and I can't stress how important the funding is for EMS. If you're short in the EMS department, now you're dealing with lives and not dollars," he said.

If you want to learn more about volunteering, call your local fire departments or EMS units. Morton says they're not just looking for firefighters, but also drivers or anyone wanting to help with logistics.

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