Sen. Bernie Sanders sits down with Vermont’s firefighters

Published: Jan. 29, 2022 at 10:07 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, met with Vermont firefighters and EMS providers to learn more about the challenges brought on and worsened by the pandemic.

Saturday morning, Sanders and U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell hosted a virtual town hall with several crews.

Sanders says more than 80% of Fire Departments in Vermont are staffed by volunteers. Larger communities are served by career first responders, who get paid.

He says an overwhelming majority are facing recruitment and retention issues, especially in rural areas of the state.

“We are reaching a very challenging situation, where diminished staffing is creating a situation where smaller communities may not be able to respond effectively to the needs of the people that live in the towns.”

He says departments across the country can apply for grants under two federal programs. But, Vermont would have to compete for the money.

Sanders says he plans to introduce legislation that will significantly increase the funds available.

A link to the full town hall meeting can be found here.

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