ERIE COUNTY — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services Dan Neaverth Jr., President of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York James Burns and volunteer firefighters from local districts at the Newton-Abbott Fire Company on Abbott Road in Hamburg, to kick off the fourth annual RecruitNY campaign by issuing a call for new volunteer firefighters to join the ranks of those already serving their communities across Erie County.
Last year, more than 700 new recruits were added to the firefighting force that currently serves the Erie County’s municipalities, but officials stressed that there are always opportunities for more people to get involved.
“Our communities are stronger, safer and more resilient, when individuals step forward to volunteer, and I thank all of the individuals who’ve heard the call to perform this critical job,” Poloncarz said. “There are always openings for more, though, so we are here today to emphasize both the benefits of public service and the great experiences to be had, by volunteering as a firefighter. Volunteers are the fabric of our communities; the men and women who make our region better because of their commitment and dedication to serving others. 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 on Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, and will feature volunteer fire departments from 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, 34 fire departments in Erie County are scheduled to take part in the open house weekend activities, with demonstrations planned and opportunities available for residents to find out more about the requirements and benefits of being a volunteer firefighter.
Neaverth 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 wellbeing of their communities, so all are welcome at this event.”
The first annual open house was held in 2011.
RecruitNY is coordinated by the FASNY, along with the New York 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.
“Last year, nearly 600 departments in 59 counties across the state participated in RecruitNY and we expect even more counties to get involved this year,” Burns said. “RecruitNY has proven a success in past years and is a key initiative to help bolster membership numbers so fire departments can continue to provide the optimum level of protection to their local residents.”
Erie County residents interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at their local fire departments, or who are interested in finding fire departments participating in the activities, may visit www.iVolunteerFIRE.org
For more information about becoming an Erie County volunteer firefighter, call the recruitment hotline at 601-3021.
To view a complete list of Hamburg-area fire departments’ RecruitNY events, visit www.thesunnews.net/news/519-The_alarm_has_sounded_Fire_companies_make_a_plea_for_members.html