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FASNY seeks to boost volunteer firefighter recruitment with RecruitNY campaign

Wed, Apr 10th 2024 11:05 am

Firehouses across New York to open their doors weekend of April 13-14

Guest Editorial by the Firefighters Association of the State of New York 

To kick off its 15th annual RecruitNY weekend, the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) recently released a survey of New York state residents’ perceptions of volunteer firefighters. The results showed 49% of New Yorkers expressed interest in becoming a volunteer firefighter.

RecruitNY is a major FASNY recruitment initiative designed to help increase volunteer membership among local fire departments. This year’s RecruitNY weekend will be hosted April 13-14.

Nearly 90% of fire departments across New York state are volunteer-based and, during the second weekend in April, those departments will open their doors to residents. This is a great opportunity for individuals and families to stop by to learn more about joining their local volunteer fire department.

According to data from the FASNY survey, two-thirds of respondents (66%) said they would visit their local fire station to gain more information on becoming a volunteer, while 55% would turn to a Google search. The survey further detailed public perceptions of the value these dedicated volunteers provide to their communities, and how residents feel about volunteering themselves. The survey also highlighted New Yorker’s strong perceptions of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service providers:

√ 79% of New Yorkers reported saving lives or helping people in need is the single most interesting impact of firefighting.

√ 98% agreed that “Volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services are important for the health and safety of my community,” and 94% said they look up to firefighters.

“This year’s annual RecruitNY campaign comes at a time when we continue to see a strong need for more volunteer firefighters. It is encouraging to see that almost half of our communities are interested in answering the call,” FASNY President Edward Tase Jr. said. “We are very excited that so many New Yorkers surveyed have expressed interest in becoming a volunteer firefighter. I invite all individuals to head down to their local departments and see what being a volunteer firefighter is all about.”

During RecruitNY weekend, members of the public are invited to visit their local firehouses, where volunteer firefighters will be conducting tours of their facilities, demonstrating firefighting techniques, and allowing visitors to try on turnout gear. These 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.

“Over the past 20 years, New York state has seen a significant decrease in the ranks of volunteer firefighters by approximately 40,000 individuals,” Association Secretary John D’Alessandro said. “It has become increasingly challenging to recruit new firefighters and retain existing ones due to factors such as the turbulent economy and busy schedules. This weekend is a great time to meet neighbors who are volunteer firefighters and learn about how you can help your community.”

FASNY has worked hard to develop and implement programs and events to assist New York’s 1,700-plus volunteer fire departments with recruiting new volunteers. This includes utilizing federal SAFER grant funds for programs such as the “Fire in You” outreach campaign and recruitment training classes. FASNY is also presently pursuing several pieces of legislation in Albany that would acknowledge the service of volunteer firefighters with increased benefits and incentives.

The RecruitNY Weekend is sponsored annually by Lincoln Financial.

“We would like to thank our friends at Lincoln Financial for their continued support of the RecruitNY program – it is an important part of our ability to assist our local fire departments with participation in the program,” Tase said.

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.

Founded in 1872, the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) represents the interests of the 80,000 volunteer firefighters in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com. 

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