Volunteer fire departments across New York state are continually looking for new members, but many are having a hard time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an effort to boost membership, the annual RecruitNY Weekend today and Sunday will see many firehouses organizing either a virtual or in-person open house to show the public what they’re all about.
Recent years have been challenging for departments faced with decreased membership and increased call volume. The need to bolster their ranks is critical to providing optimum and necessary levels of protection for their residents.
In 2019, more than 600 fire departments across the state held recruitment open houses. Unfortunately, in 2020, the rapid onset of COVID-19 forced the cancellation of RecruitNY Weekend.
“Hundreds of volunteer fire departments across New York will be participating in RecruitNY. We invite all New Yorkers to attend an open house and safely experience what it means to be a volunteer firefighter,” said John Farrell, Firemen’s Association of the State of New York president. “After the year we have been through, RecruitNY weekend can provide people with the opportunity to interact with the responders who are dedicated to protecting them.”
Members of the public are invited to visit their local firehouses, either virtually or in-person, where volunteer firefighters will be conducting tours of their facilities, demonstrating firefighting techniques and allowing visitors to try on turnout gear.
These types of activities give visitors a taste of what it means to be in the fire service. Volunteer firefighters will also be on hand to discuss the requirements and rewards of joining. All are welcome and encouraged to attend, including families with children.
The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) has worked hard to develop and implement events to assist New York’s 1,700-plus volunteer fire departments recruit new volunteers. This includes utilizing federal SAFER grant funds for programs such as the “Fire in You” outreach campaign, the FASNY HELP college tuition reimbursement program and recruitment training classes.
Individuals looking to find out if their fire department is participating in RecruitNY, visit www.recruitny.org/participants/. For more information, contact your local volunteer fire department via a non-emergency phone number or website, or visit www.fasny.com.
A list of local participating fire halls include:
• Leon, 12194 Leon New Albion Rd, April 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (716) 296-5600.
• Yorkshire, 12211 Church St., April 24, noon to 3 p.m. Call (716) 598-1577.
• Randolph, 70 Main St., April 24, 1 to 4 p.m. Call (716) 358-9300.
• Little Valley, 101 3rd St., April 25, 1 to 4 p.m. Call (716) 938-6646.
• Allentown, 1966 Church St., April 24 and 25, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (585) 593-6072.
• Scio, 4359 Vandermark Road, April 24, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call (585) 593-2046.