AT&T Acts to Help Attract Youth into Volunteer Fire Service

Pennsylvania National Fire Museum Enhances Education Programs with Support from AT&T

John Foley – Safer Buildings Coalition / HARRISBURG, PA (Sept. 27, 2017)

There are over 27,000 fire departments in the US, and over 19,000 of those (70%) are volunteer.  Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of volunteer Fire Service personnel. But attracting new volunteers to the Fire Service is a challenge, one that AT&T hopes to address by focusing on education for Pennsylvania’s youth.

With a $25,000 contribution from AT&T, the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum will inspire more young Pennsylvanians to consider serving as volunteer or professional first responders.  The new exhibit and programs also will show how our first responders use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to keep Pennsylvanians safe.

“Young people have a lot going on these days”, said Rick O’Leary, Executive Director, PA House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “At a young age is when you want to get them involved in the Fire Service. Hopefully at that age it becomes a calling that they keep throughout their life.”

AT&T hopes to engage young people through smartphone apps and other modern technologies to get them interested in the Fire Service

PA State Rep Stephen Barrar speaking at PA National Fire Museum
PA State Rep Stephen Barrar speaking at PA National Fire Museum

“One of the things that would help us get young people here would be some type of a college tuition credit program”, said State Representative Stephen E. Barrar (R-160th Legislative District, and Chair, House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee ). “To spend one, two, or four years fighting fires for the City of Harrisburg. It would be an incredible incentive tool. Everything takes time and money. The fact that AT&T stepped up to the plate is a tremendous help that is greatly appreciated.”

“The Pennsylvania National Fire Museum is an extraordinary place where people from across Pennsylvania – and even around the world – visit to learn more about the rich history of fire fighting in Pennsylvania,” said David Kerr, regional vice president for AT&T in Pennsylvania. “Our contribution will help the museum reinvigorate its educational programming to inspire young Pennsylvanians to consider giving back to their communities by becoming first responders.”

Kerr added that the museum also will address science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills in its educational materials – skills that are important for students’ future success in almost every industry and a cornerstone of AT&T Aspire, the company’s initiative that creates connections that drive innovation in education. The announcement coincided with Gov. Tom Wolf’s team’s focus this week on highlighting the work Pennsylvania has done with STEM education and careers over the past few years.

John Bruetsch, treasurer of the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, said the museum will be working with AT&T to upgrade existing displays, allowing it to expand on the messages of fire safety for all ages, from children to older adults, who each have their own specific areas of risk.

For more information about the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, visit https://www.pnfm.org.

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