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Volunteer Firehouses Seek New Recruits This Weekend

Lucas Willard

Fire departments across New York will open their doors this weekend for a statewide recruiting effort.

The eighth annual RecruitNY weekend is a partnership between local fire departments and the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York.

John Farrell, Second Vice President of FASNY, says fire departments across the state are in “full outreach mode.”

“We expect hundreds of fire departments to open their bay doors and give the public a look at what it means to be a volunteer firefighter,” said Farrell.

Of the approximately 1,800 departments across the state, the vast majority are staffed by volunteers.

Farrell says many firefighters are needed to help meet what he says are 21st Century demands of local departments.

“In the post 9-11 world, our firefighters spend more time training, more now than before: learning how to respond to large scale incidents, how to handle complicated rescue scenarios in addition to the typical house/business fires,” said Farrell.

The RecruitNY kickoff was held inside the Fuller Road Fire Department in the Town of Colonie.

Colonie, in Albany County, covers 57 square miles and is home to about 82,000 residents.

Town supervisor Paula Mahan said volunteer firefighters are an integral part of Colonie.

“We have 12 volunteer fire departments and they are a major part of our community. We would not be able to function without them,” said Mahan.

Jerry DeLuca, Executive Director of the New York Association of Fire Chiefs, said men and women in departments across the state need additional help.

“Somewhere across New York state today, perhaps in Albany County, perhaps here in the Town of Colonie, the tones will go off and volunteers will respond. Whether it’s to a fire, a car accident, a flooding incident, some kind of incident, they will have an impact on the lives of the citizens of their community. We have to think what will happen if those tones go off and nobody comes,” said DeLuca.

Republican State Senator Kathy Marchione, who worked to secure $250,000 in the new state budget to support volunteer recruitment efforts, assured those who may be intimidated by the physical demands of being a firefighter.

“But you know, people need to know there are so many different many jobs in a firehouse. There are so many things they can do,” said Marchione.

RecruitNY weekend will be held Saturday and Sunday at firehouses across the state.

For more information visit: https://fasny.com/

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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