HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The mid-state is working to recruit volunteer firefighters amid a nationwide shortage.

To do this, West Shore and East Shore departments — separated by the Susquehanna River — are partaking in a “friendly competition” to see which “side” can recruit the most volunteers.

The competition is being spearheaded by capitalregionfirefighter.org, a recruitment campaign that launched last year and is being funded by a $2.2 million grant from FEMA.

“The Capital Region Firefighter Grant is probably the largest in the state of Pennsylvania that’s covering the most municipalities,” New Kingstown Fire Chief Curtis Hall said.

Get severe weather alerts with newsletters and push alerts from the abc27 Weather Team!

The money from FEMA will ultimately help recruit and train volunteer firefighters, something the mid-state is lacking.

“The struggle has always been trying to get members interested in the fire department, and then keeping them interested,” Hall said.

The goal of the recruitment is to see which “shore” — the East or West — can bring in the most volunteers. The competition runs through the end of 2022.

“It’s not who’s best, it’s who’s good at what they do, better at what they do and — based on the demographics of their municipality — how well they can cover their response area,” Hall told ABC27.

Training for volunteer firefighters takes place every Tuesday. No experience is necessary.

Stay up to date with the latest news with the free abc27 News app for iPhone and Android

“Just come down, check it out,” Volunteer firefighter Bailey Evanseger said. “I’m absolutely loving it and I’ve learned so much and I’m able to use it outside of this.”