Volunteer firefighters say their service saves New York communities more than $3 billion a year statewide.
A study released by The Fireman's Association of the State of New York on Tuesday calculates that switching over to all-paid squads would cost $3.1 billion in pay and benefits annually, plus additional costs for maintaining living and eating quarters. There also would be a one-time cost of $5.9 billion for a statewide switchover.
There is no serious movement to pay all-volunteer squads, but officials with the firefighters' group say they want to illustrate the value of volunteer squads.
There are about 100,000 volunteer firefighters in New York state.
About nine of ten municipal fire departments are volunteer, many in more sparsely populated areas with a smaller tax base.
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