Global pandemic highlights need for creative recruitment methods
By the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York
This year, RecruitNY Weekend (April 24-25) 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.
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,” FASNY President John Farrell said. “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 has worked hard to develop and implement events to assist New York’s 1,700-plus volunteer fire departments 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.
Individuals looking to find out if their fire department is participating in RecruitNY can visit http://www.recruitny.org/participation-area/. For more information, contact your local volunteer fire department via a non-emergency phone number or its website
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 (NYSAFC), 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.
Founded in 1872, FASNY represents the interests of approximately 110,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.