Connecticut facing shortage of volunteer firefighters

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BRANFORD -- Connecticut is facing a crisis when it comes to towns that rely on volunteer departments for fire and EMS coverage.

"I would consider it as dire." said Bob Guthrie, a West Haven Volunteer Firefighter. "You look at 83 percent as being served by volunteer communities and I'm willing to bet you 70 to 80 percent of them could use more people."

Fire Chiefs from around the state met in Branford Friday to discuss the problem and hope a federal grant will help departments around the state bolster efforts to boost enrollment levels.

"We need the manpower," said Captain Jim Lamarre, a volunteer with the Rocky Hill Fire Department. "Every bit helps. What happens is that you have your low numbers and it puts more of a demand on the people who are there all the time. If you bring the ranks up then it balances the workload out among everybody."

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