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Hochul launches NYS' first training stipend program for volunteer firefighters


Wed, Mar 6th 2024 07:15 pm

New program aims to strengthen and stabilize volunteer fire service

√ $10 million included in state budget to offset costs of training courses volunteer firefighters are required to complete; stipends range from $500-$1,250 depending on completion of various training courses

Press Release

Gov. Kathy Hochul has launched New York’s first training stipend program for volunteer firefighters. The program’s draft regulations were accepted following a 60-day public comment period and support Hochul’s efforts to strengthen and stabilize New York’s volunteer fire service. A total of $10 million will help offset the costs of training courses volunteer firefighters are required to complete.

“Volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line to protect those in their communities, and it is time that we recognize and compensate them for the work that they have done,” Hochul said. “These stipends will allow our firefighters to continue serving their communities while also being able to provide for their families.”

Hochul’s team said, “Volunteer fire departments serve approximately 9 million New Yorkers – nearly half of the state’s population. In recent years, however, more than three-quarters of these departments have reported a decrease in the number of individuals willing to volunteer and serve. This is further compounded by the increased operational responsibilities beyond fire protection to include vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, hazardous material spills, and weather-related rescue operations. At the same time, calls for service have increased 29% from 1997 to 2020.

“As part of the effort to strengthen and stabilize the state’s volunteer fire service, the division’s office of fire prevention and control (OFPC) will administer the stipend to volunteer firefighters for completion of the following training courses completed on or after Aug. 31, 2023.”

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “New York’s volunteer fire service plays a critical role in protecting our communities but, departments statewide face serious recruitment and retention challenges. That’s why Gov. Hochul prioritized rewriting the rules to allow our division to provide stipends for the foundation training courses. These stipends will allow more New Yorkers (to) be able to sign up to become volunteer firefighters and strengthen our more than 1,000 volunteer departments across the state.”

Volunteer Firefighter Training Course Stipends



Basic exterior firefighting operations


Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus / Interior Firefighting Operations


Fire Officer 1


Additionally, a local fire training stipend may be authorized for the completion of any OFPC training course or equivalents, as determined by OFPC, up to $500.

Stipends are for first time course completions of the listed OFPC course or equivalency as determined by OFPC. Students must be a member of good standing as determined by their department and stipend applications are submitted by the fire chief.

To be eligible, fire departments must have submitted fire reporting for the previous calendar year and complete the annual fire department demographics form. This regulation also authorizes volunteer fire departments to pay volunteer firefighters a training stipend, subject to local funding, for the completions of certain courses, identified by the Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

Visit the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control homepage for more information on the program.

The office of fire prevention and control delivers a wide breadth of essential services to firefighters, emergency responders, state and local government agencies, public and private colleges, and the citizens of New York to help ensure the safety of all stakeholders. The office advances public safety through firefighter training, education, fire prevention, investigative, special operations, and technical rescue programs.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides leadership, coordination and support to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate disasters and other emergencies. For more information, follow @NYSDHSES on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly known as Twitter), or visit dhses.ny.gov.

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