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Misericordia Faculty Published in Pennsylvania Economic Review

Misericordia Faculty Published in Pennsylvania Economic Review

Misericordia Faculty Published in Pennsylvania Economic Review

John R. Ash, Ph.D., FACHE assistant professor of Business and program director for Healthcare Administration, was recently published in the Pennsylvania Economic Review for his research paper on “The Death of Volunteerism in America and the True Cost to Society.”

Dr. Ash Headshot

Dr. John Ash Headshot

The paper discusses the volunteer crisis facing fire and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations in the United States.  Pennsylvania has been especially hard hit by the shortage of volunteers to replenish the ranks of fire and EMS personnel who can no longer serve.  Ash discusses that the number of volunteer firefighters in PA has dropped from a 1970s peak of approximately 350,000 to just under 17,000 as of 2016.  The number of EMS providers has also precipitously declined from 30,000 to 17,000.

Ash reported that the situation is so dire that fire and EMS calls may go unanswered if the trend continues.  News outlets throughout the country have reported lengthy delays of up to an hour for an ambulance to arrive.  In March 2023, a 55-year-old Oregon father of three died from a heart attack while waiting 40 minutes for an ambulance; his children had to perform CPR on their father until help arrived.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that a fire doubles in size every 30 seconds and totally engulfs a room within three minutes.  Ash, a 45-year fire and EMS veteran, continues to volunteer with his local fire and EMS agency and has witnessed how ominous the situation really is.  He asks the same question that many of his colleagues ponder, “What if no one answers the call?” 

Life and property are at risk, and the consensus among experts is for departments to regionalize.  Ash states, “By regionalizing, you can pool resources to get the job done, but it comes with a downside.”  Distance is a factor.  Urban and suburban fire and EMS agencies are typically close enough to one another that time is not much of a factor, but when you get into the rural areas, time, and distance increase.”

For more information about his research published in the Pennsylvania Economic Review, Click Here, and for more information about the Misericordia College of Business, Click Here