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Volunteer firefighter recruitment weekend spotlights 'RecruitNY' campaign

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Tue, Apr 25th 2017 04:05 pm
Erie County executive Mark C. Poloncarz (at podium) is surrounded by volunteer firefighters from Doyle Hose Company No. 1 in Cheektowaga, as well as representatives of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, to kick off the seventh annual Recruit NY campaign with a call for volunteer firefighters to join the ranks of those already serving their communities across Erie County.
Erie County executive Mark C. Poloncarz (at podium) is surrounded by volunteer firefighters from Doyle Hose Company No. 1 in Cheektowaga, as well as representatives of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, to kick off the seventh annual Recruit NY campaign with a call for volunteer firefighters to join the ranks of those already serving their communities across Erie County.

Poloncarz joins FASNY, local and state fire officials to kick off 7th annual campaign

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined Monday by the Doyle Hose Co. No. 1 Chief Don Szumigala, representatives of the Erie County Emergency Services department, Firemen's Association of the State of New York President Ken Pienkowski, and volunteer firefighters from local districts at Doyle Hose Co. No. 1 on William Street in Cheektowaga to kick off the seventh annual "RecruitNY" campaign. They issued a call for new volunteer firefighters to join the ranks of those already serving their communities across Erie County.

"Volunteer firefighters are on the front lines of community protection and serve the public in many ways. They may be the first on the scene when accidents happen or the first there to help when disaster strikes," Poloncarz said. "These men and women are the backbone of effective community response, and I encourage anyone who's thinking of joining their ranks to take some time on open house weekend, visit their neighborhood firehouse, and see what volunteer activities might be a good fit for them. There are many ways to serve the community and volunteers of all types and skill sets are needed."

The RecruitNY open house weekend will take place on Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30. It will feature volunteer fire departments across Erie County and New York state opening their doors to residents as part of the recruitment effort.

Twenty-six volunteer fire departments and one volunteer EMS unit are participating in the FASNY's 2017 RecruitNY statewide volunteer open house program, including: Akron, Big Tree, Blossom, Boston, Brighton, Chaffee-Sardinia, Cleveland-Hill, Doyle Hose Co. 1, East Aurora, Forks, Getzville, Harris Hill, Highland Hose, Lake Shore, Main-Transit, Mortons Corners, North Collins, Orchard Park, Reserve, River Road, Scranton, Springville, Twin District, U-Crest, West Falls and Winchester Volunteer fire companies. The Boston Emergency Squad is co-locating its open house with the Boston Volunteer Fire Co.

"Joining the volunteer fire service has been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I know I am not alone in saying that," Pienkowski said. "Hundreds of volunteer fire departments across New York will be participating in RecruitNY, and it's great to kick-off the campaign right here in Erie County. I urge you to take some time this weekend to stop by your local firehouse and see what being a volunteer firefighter is all about. Who knows, you just may be inspired to join them in protecting the Erie County community?"

Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services Dan Neaverth Jr. added, "If you long for those high school days of being part of a team or are intrigued every time an emergency vehicle passes by, this is the time to get off your best intentions and check out your local volunteer fire department. We provide the training, equipment and camaraderie; you provide the desire."

Erie County is served by 94 volunteer fire departments and five emergency squads. All communities outside the cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna are served by volunteer firefighters and/or emergency medical services volunteers.

Since FASNY's RecruitNY statewide volunteer open house program was initiated in 2011, more than 3,370 citizens have applied to become Erie County volunteer firefighters.

As part of this annual campaign, Erie County launched a new web site at iVolunteerEMS.org last year to specifically attract potential candidates interested in joining one of the county's five volunteer emergency squads or the many volunteer fire departments that also provide emergency medical services. That site will be featured in a new recruitment effort during National EMS Week: May 21-27.

Erie County residents interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at their local fire departments should visit iVolunteerFIRE.org or iVolunteerEMS.org.

To find out if the firehouse in your neighborhood is participating in RecruitNY open house weekend activities, visit: http://www.recruitny.org/participation-area/#Erie.

A subset of the county's overall recruitment effort serves to connect veterans with the volunteer fire service through 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,iVolunteerEMS.org or call the RecruitmentHQ hotline at 716-601-3021.

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