I read this article and I'm convinced that they missed the real points. It is an article about the decline of the volunteer fire fighter and the figures may be surprising to people who didn't know what they didn't know. About half my brothers in the Omega chapter of Theta Chi were volunteer firemen. They were volunteer firemen BEFORE entering Penn State. I suspect the usual suspects have so girded and enpained volunteer firemen that they must prove that they are 45 years of age, attended 8000 hours of fire instruction training, EMS training and have not had so much as a single moving vehicle accident in the last 19,000 years before they "qualify" as potential recruit volunteers and then must undergo a minimum of 25,320 hours of sexuxal harrassment training and show 480 hours of college credit training in fire purposing and taming.
I think an honest look into what happened to the volunteer fire fighter is still waiting an actual factual report on why the decline has taken place. The parts I didn't mention above can also be weighed against the almost certain tide of lawyers with their legal liabilities and extortion rackets.
Nothing kills volunteerism faster than a lawyer with bills to pay.
Long ago, a neighbor's house caught fire and I lived across the street 3 doors down. I entered the flaming house and shouted fire and tried to see if anyone was home. Nobody was. I left the house and went to the next house and shouted "Fire!" and helped myself to her hose and then I stood there in her driveway spraying water on that house as the one next door went up in flames. As soon as the Professional Oakland Fire Department crews and trucks showed up, I stopped keeping the fire from spreading in the expectation that they would. They didn't. The house I kept from burning caught fire while the pros fought the other housefire from upwind where the smoke wouldn't get in their delicate eyes. It was a sad travesty.
I've attended all of the USN's fire fighting schools at every level and graduated from Washington State's Fire Fighting Training Academy out there beyond Snoqualimie. I fought fires on ships and structures and know a thing or two about fighting fires. Oakland's 'professional' fire fighting response amazed me with its utter cluelessness and ineptitude. I'd say they could do better with volunteers but then, the people of Oakland have a nasty habit of shooting at all first responders...including firemen.