ROCKLAND — Officials with fire departments in rural and coastal areas of Maine say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find volunteer firefighters.

Rockland Assistant Fire Chief Adam Miceli says it’s always been difficult to find volunteers, but the current situation is the worst he’s seen in a 26-year career. His department has room for 25 volunteers, but only has 14. Rockland has full-time firefighters, but relies heavily on volunteers during emergencies.

Kennebunk Fire Chief Stephen Nichols, president of the Maine Fire Chiefs Association, tells the Bangor Daily News a major problem is the amount of training required. To become certified, a volunteer needs 244 hours in the classroom, as well as homework, and training in everything from handling hazardous materials to driving fire equipment.

Commitment to full-time jobs and family also discourages many.

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