SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - Three South Brunswick Township volunteer fire departments are looking to add to their numbers in 2021. The Kendall Park, Kingston, and Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Department are all inviting residents to come out and join.

"Unfortunately, we have witnessed first-hand how difficult it can b to retain our current firefighters and recruit new ones," Chief John Luck of the Kingston Volunteer Fire Company said.

According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, people are not volunteering at local fire departments across the nation. The number of volunteers had dropped 10% since the 80s, but the number of fire emergencies has not.

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"There are a variety of reasons why people don't choose to volunteer," Chief Chris Perez of the Kendall Park Volunteer Fire Company said. "When you consider full-time jobs, with some people working more than one job to make ends meet, going to school, taking care of family members; the list is endless. A lot of people can't fit in any other commitments, especially volunteering."

More than 60% of the firefighters in the United States are volunteers according to the National Fire Protection Agency.

"Many residents in South Brunswick don't know they are served by volunteers, which also makes it difficult to recruit new members," Luck added.

"Those individuals who volunteer to serve and protect are carrying on the legacy of the American Fire Service," said Chief Scott Smith of the Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Department. "Without question, there is something truly special about helping your neighbor in their greatest time of need."

Prior experience fighting fires is not necessary to join the Kendall Park, Kingston, or Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Departments. Training is provided to volunteers free of charge. Volunteers shoudl be between the ages of 16 and 45. The volunteer fire departments also offer length of service award plans, college scholarships, and life insurance coverage. Interested residents can visit the department's websites or contact the departments directly by telephone. The departments can be reached using the following information provided by the Kendall park, Kingston, and Monmouth Junction Volunteer Fire Departments: