Danger! Volunteer firefighters are getting older

Adam Bearne/NPR
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Jerry Scarborough is 69 years old, but that doesn’t stop him from jumping behind the wheel of a fire engine when there’s an emergency.

Frequently, the 20-plus-year member of the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company in rural Maryland isn’t even the oldest firefighter on the scene.

On one call last year, he raced to extinguish a blaze engulfing a tractor in a field, but found a situation that wasn’t quite that exciting.

“It turned out to be a little John Deere lawn mower,” Scarborough explained.

Buddy Tester and Robert Worthington of the neighboring Level Volunteer Fire Company had also raced to the scene.

Tester is 76 years old. Worthington is 87.

Two-thirds of U.S. firefighters are volunteers, who can face anything from a house fire with people trapped inside, to a pile-up on the highway or a leak of hazardous chemicals.

Fewer young people in recent years have signed up to take on those challenges and that poses serious risks to people and their homes, especially in rural areas.

Read more at NPR.org

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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!