JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Jones County Fire Coordinator Dan McKenna said Wednesday that at least 100 new volunteer firefighters are needed to continue to effectively protect lives and property in the county. McKenna spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Laurel at the Laurel Country Club.
He said the county has been dealing with a shortage of volunteers for some time and said it's also a nationwide problem.
Currently, there are about 343 volunteers serving at 18 different volunteer fire departments throughout the county.
In recent years, the number of volunteer firefighters across the country had dropped from more than one million to just over 800,000.
"The age of the volunteers is increasing dramatically," said McKenna. "The average age of a volunteer in the United States now is over 50. That's scary, because we don't have our younger folks coming into the service like we used to," he said.
Meanwhile, McKenna is continuing to urge residents not to burn anything outdoors until the area receives a significant amount of rain.
He said so far this week, two structures have already been lost to brush fires. One of the homes was abandoned, but the other was occupied. No one was injured.