Recruitment Weekend for Volunteer Firefighters

March 29, 2011 Updated Mar 29, 2011 at 3:40 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Recruitment Weekend for Volunteer Firefighters

March 29, 2011 Updated Mar 29, 2011 at 3:40 PM EDT

Albany, NY (WKBW)

Many volunteer fire departments across the state will open their doors to area residents, so they can learn about what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter in their community, as part of a new statewide recruitment program called Recruit New York. Over the last several years, it has been tough for many fire departments throughout New York State to recruit and retain volunteers for a variety of reasons. Volunteer fire departments need to bolster their emergency responder numbers, so they can continue to provide the optimum level of protection for their residents. Now more than ever, fire departments need more of their neighbors joining their department.

Participating fire departments will hold a recruitment drive at their respective firehouses as part of this effort over the course of Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10 to kick off National Volunteer Week 2011. Not only will Recruit New York be an opportunity to highlight the duties and rewards that come with being a volunteer firefighter, it will also raise public awareness about the need for volunteers. The hope is that a collaborative effort among volunteer fire departments will turn the declining number of volunteer firefighters around.

This is a new approach by fire service leaders to increase volunteer membership numbers across the state. For the first time, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC), Association of Fire Districts of New York State, Volunteer Fire Police Association of the State of New York and County Fire Coordinators Association of the State of New York have joined forces to assist fire departments in expanding their recruitment efforts. The pilot program provides fire departments with recruitment resources, communication tools, and tips to help them conduct an open house at their firehouse over Recruit NY weekend or for future recruitment efforts. All of these materials can be accessed on the FASNY-designed website, http://recruitny.org/.

“Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel do important and challenging work for the pure satisfaction of helping others,” said FASNY President David Jacobowitz. “They are essential for a number of reasons, including the fact that volunteers live in the communities in which they serve, which greatly enhances response times, and their volunteer service saves taxpayers millions of dollars every year.”

Throughout the recruitment drive, fire departments will conduct tours of their firehouse and firefighter apparatus, allow visitors to try on turnout gear, and provide activities and stations throughout the firehouse for visitors to participate in. The fire department will discuss the requirements to be a volunteer, as well as conduct demonstrations, answer questions, and let visitors know how to get involved in the fire department.

To find out if Recruit NY will be held in your community, contact your local fire department.