by Susan Mikula Campbell
This weekend, volunteer fire companies across the state will be holding open houses to recruit new members as part of RecruitNY.
Volunteers will conduct tours of their firehouse and fire apparatus, allow visitors to try on turnout gear, conduct demonstrations, provide visitor activities and discuss the requirements to be a volunteer. Locally, special activities range from a performance of the Bergholz German Band at the Bergholz Volunteer Fire Co. to a kids coloring contest and CPR demonstrations at Tri-Community Ambulance Service.
"Over the last several years, it has been very tough for many fire departments throughout New York state to recruit and retain volunteers for a variety of reasons. Like most volunteer fire departments, the Town of Wheatfield fire companies need to bolster their emergency responder numbers, so they can continue to provide the optimum level of protection for their residents," said Marc E. Kasprzak, chairman of the Town of Wheatfield Fire Advisory Board.
Kasprzak, who also is assistant chief of the Shawnee Volunteer Fire Co., said volunteers are needed to respond to fires and first aid calls, work as emergency medical technicians and can even sign up to help with fundraising efforts, so funding is not totally reliant on taxpayers.
"We're always looking to increase our membership roles. As busy as everyone is in today's world, we can never have enough help," he said. "If everybody has a little bit to give, it all adds up."
Niagara-Wheatfield area volunteer companies holding recruitment open houses on one or both days this weekend include:
•Adams Volunteer Fire Co., 7113 Nash Road, Wheatfield, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22.
•Bergholz Volunteer Fire Co., 2470 Niagara Road, Bergholz, noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 21.
•Frontier Volunteer Fire Co., 2179 River Road, Wheatfield, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21.
•St. Johnsburg Volunteer Fire Co., 7165 Ward Road, Wheatfield, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22.
•Shawnee Volunteer Fire Co., 3747 Lockport Road, Wheatfield, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21.
•Niagara Active Hose Volunteer Fire Co., 6010 Lockport Road, Town of Niagara, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22.
•Lewiston No. 2 Volunteer Fire Co., 1705 Saunders Settlement Road, Town of Lewiston, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 21.
•Tri-Community Ambulance Service, 6276 Ward Road, Sanborn, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 21.
Established in 2011, RecruitNY is a joint undertaking by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, 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.
Looking for more information, or to find out if your fire department is participating in RecruitNY, visit www.recruitny.org or contact your local fire department via a non-emergency phone number or its website.