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New Law Aims To Alleviate State's Volunteer Firefighter Shortage

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Firefighters say new law will help with shortage in Oklahoma. Firefighters say new law will help with shortage in Oklahoma.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma's shortage of volunteer firefighters just led to a change in state law. Area fire chiefs said that change will help make Oklahoma a safer place to live. 

Three-quarters of all firefighters in the state are volunteers. Last week, Governor Fallin signed a bill that allows volunteer firefighters over the age of 45. 

State law has been that no one over that age could volunteer, because the state would not pay their pension. The new law allows older volunteers to join, but they won't be eligible for pensions. State Volunteer Firefighters Association President Buddy Myers said the new law should be a big help. 

“We can take people over the age of 45, they still can't be in the pension system, but it doubles the gene pool, that we can utilize to recruit firefighters.” Myers said. 

There are more than 1,000 volunteer fire departments in Oklahoma, according to Myers.

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