Pika County, Pa., seeks young first responders

The new emergency training director in Pike County, Pennsylvania, recently said he was seeking to recruit at least 80 young first responders through local schools.

Timothy Knapp, the operations training director and facility director of the Pike County Training Center, is ramping up recruitment efforts to boost the number of first responders training at the center's next Junior Weekend, the Pike County Courier reports.

County commissioners recently appointed Knapp to take over the position after it was vacated by George Boedeker when he was promoted to director of Pike County Emergency Management. Knapp was previously the assistant chief of the Forest Volunteer Fire Department in Lackawaxen, the Pike County Courier reports.

"(Knapp's) hit the ground running," Matt Osterberg, the Pike County commissioner, said, according to the Pike County Courier.

State Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20th) said recruitment and retention are major problems in the county, as without volunteers, the county would need to spend millions to hire sufficient numbers of paid personnel and to buy equipment.

The Pike County Office of Emergency Management seeks the development, establishment and maintenance of programs and procedures to protect the lives and property of Pike County residents from the effects of man-made or natural disasters, including hazardous material incidents, storms and mass casualty incidents.