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Crown Point FD faces manpower shortage

Ingleston believes the manpower shortage has two causes.

The state-mandated requirements for volunteers are ever-increasing.

When Ingleston became a firefighter in 1981 he was required to complete 39 hours of basic training. Today a new firefighter must complete 100 hours, including two days at a state fire school. The nearest one is in Saratoga.

To become an EMT a volunteer must complete six months of twice weekly classes and be re-certified every three years, Ingleston said.

"The (state) requirements ask a lot of volunteers," he said. "We scheduled an EMT class here in Crown Point two years ago to make it easier for people; no one signed up. There's just no interest."

The economy is also a factor, Ingleston said. Many people now work more than one job, leaving little time to volunteer.

"People are concerned with their families and jobs," he said. "The fire department isn't the priority it once was. People have a different agenda now. It's hard for them to find the time to go to the fire house to train or go on calls."

The Crown Point fire company just received three applications from prospective new members, Ingleston said. They are the first applications to join the department in more than two years.

Ingleston said new members are welcome. Anyone interested in joining the department can stop at a meeting. The department meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the fire house.

Crown Point's fire company formed in 1906 as the A.E. Phelps Chemical Engine Co. It later became the A.E. Phelps Engine Company and is now the A.E. Phelps Fire and Rescue Company.

It has two ambulances, two fire engines, a mini pumper, a tanker, a utility truck and a rescue boat.

An emphasis of the department is education. Ingleston said local firefighters visit Crown Point Central School at least once a year with fire safety information, while emergency medical technicians also visit the school with first aid and accident prevention information.

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