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Addressing New York's Shortage Of Volunteer Firefighters

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - According to the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, or FASNY, over 70 percent of all the fire and emergency response nationwide is done by volunteers.

But the number of people donating their time at fire departments continues to fall, so FASNY is calling on community members to attend an open house at their local fire department this weekend, during its 9th annual RecruitNY event.

Association Secretary John D’Alessandro says the shortage of volunteer firefighters has been a growing problem the past 20 years, and they’re hoping to address that manpower shortage.
“They just don’t feel that they have the time in their lives to do it.  What we tell people is that there are dozens of different kinds of jobs in the volunteer fire department.  You don’t have to be the man or woman at the end of the hose line,” he said.

D’Alessandro says up to 700 fire departments are expected to participate in the recruitment effort this weekend.

“Open their doors this weekend, either Saturday or Sunday or even both days, to invite the community in, to show the community what they do, how they operate, and most importantly, hopefully to get some community members to sign up as volunteer firefighters,” he said.

D’Alessandro says FASNY hopes anyone who has the slightest interest or curiosity about what it means to be a volunteer firefighter will invest an hour or two of their time at their local fire department this weekend to learn about the role it plays in protecting the community.