(WETM) – RecruitNY Weekend will be unlike any before. In response to COVID-19, many firehouses across New York State are choosing to organize a virtual open house or conduct other digital outreach in an effort to attract new volunteers. Some firehouses, based upon local conditions, may still elect to open their doors to the public.
Here in the Twin Tiers, several area departments are holding events:
- Community Fire and Rescue Inc (Van Etten)
- Baldwin Volunteer Fire Department (Lowman)
- Howard Volunteer Fire Department (Avoca)
- East Campbell Fire Department (Painted Post)
- Painted Post Fire Department (Painted Post)
- Corning Joint Fire District (Corning)
- Prattsburg Protective Fire Department (Prattsburgh)
- Beaver Dams Volunteer Fire Department (Beaver Dams)
- Spencer Fire Department (Spencer)
- Campville Fire Department (Endicott)
- Berkshire Fire Company (Berkshire)
- Nichols Joint Fire District (Nichols)
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 FASNY President John Farrell. “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 type 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 past several years have been challenging for volunteer fire departments throughout New York. Many are 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.
The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) has developed events to assist New York’s 1,700-plus volunteer fire departments to 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.