Poloncarz joins local, state fire officials to kickoff 5th annual "RecruitNY" campaign
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined Monday by Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services Dan Neaverth Jr., President of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York Robert McConville, and volunteer firefighters from local districts at the Erie County Training and Operations Center in Cheektowaga to kickoff the fifth annual "RecruitNY" campaign with a call for new volunteer firefighters to join the ranks of those already serving their communities.
"Volunteerism in the service of one's community is a noble calling, and one that can positively impact the lives of countless others," Poloncarz said. "Our neighborhoods and the larger community are made stronger and safer when committed individuals come forward to serve others, and I thank the many thousands of individuals who have done so over the years.
"Today we are sending out the call for more people to join the ranks of volunteers serving our community as firefighters. There are many opportunities to explore and numerous ways to lend a hand, so I encourage anyone thinking of joining to check out the open house weekend to find out more."
The RecruitNY Open House Weekend will take place this Saturday and Sunday. It will feature volunteer fire departments across Erie County and New York state opening their doors to residents as part of the recruitment effort. Fire departments will conduct tours, spotlight their fire apparatus, allow visitors to try on firefighter gear, and take part in activities.
So far, 23 fire departments in Erie County are taking part in the Open House Weekend activities, with demonstrations planned and ample opportunities for residents to find out more about the requirements and benefits of being a volunteer firefighter.
"Last year, over 500 fire departments across the state participated in RecruitNY, and we're optimistic that turnout will be even better this year," McConville said. "We encourage New Yorkers across the state to come down and visit their local volunteer fire departments on April 25 and 26. At the firehouse, they can learn all about becoming a member of a very special family - the volunteer fire service."
The first annual "RecruitNY" Open House Weekend was held in 2011, with fire departments in more than 50 counties from across New York participating. RecruitNY is coordinated by FASNY along with the state Association of Fire Chiefs, the Association of Fire Districts of New York State, the Volunteer Fire Police Association of the State of New York, and the County Fire Coordinators Association of New York State.
Neaverth Jr. said, "There are many ways that interested individuals can help out their communities by volunteering, and Open House Weekend is a great way to find out more. Volunteers are the backbone of what we do and have a tremendous impact on both the safety and the well-being of their communities, so all are welcome at this event."
Erie County residents interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at their local fire departments, or interested in finding fire departments participating in Open House Weekend activities, can visit iVolunteerFIRE.org or VolunteerNY.org.
A sub-set of the county's overall recruitment effort serves to connect veterans with the volunteer fire service through www.SoldierFirefighter.com, recognizing the common values, needs and benefits of those who have served their country in the armed forces - and those who serve their community in the volunteer fire service.
To learn more about becoming an Erie County volunteer firefighter, visit iVolunteerFIRE.org or call the recruitment hotline at 716-601-3021.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Emergency Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/emergencyservices/.
On SoldierFirefighter, visit http://www.SoldierFirefighter.com.
On the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, visit www.fasny.com.