COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Being a firefighter is not an easy job, but they’re crucial jobs to fill for more many reasons.
As a result, New York has launched a statewide recruitment campaign to get more volunteers on the force.
Currently, there are only about 100,000 volunteers, but there’s a great need for more.
This weekend is the 7th Annual RecruitNY, sponsored by the State Fireman’s Association. More than 450 fire departments across the state are holding events to recruit new volunteer firefighters.
This included an event at the Midway Fire Department in Colonie.
“Unfortunately our numbers are dwindling and we really need to start getting some new bodies in here, some new people in here to get them trained,” said Chief Robert Sammons.
Recruiting volunteer firefighters has become difficult in recent years for a simple reason – it’s a volunteer job.
“You have to remember everyone has a life, everyone is doing other things so to say hey I need you here three days a week, plus weekends to do your training is difficult for some people to do that,” Sammons said.
Replacing volunteers with an all-paid fire service would cost the state $3.9 billion every year, thus would raise property taxes more than 26 percent.
New members aren’t even be able to go in the field right away, it takes a little more than a year of training and getting certifications before they become official firefighters.
“It’s not one of those things where you kind of have enough, you can always use more people,” Sammons said.
The need for more volunteers is even greater now after multiple fires in recent months.
Sammons said to be a firefighter you should be honest, dedicated and willing to help others.
“I mean you’re going to help somebody that you may have never met before but you’re going to get a lot of gratification afterwards for helping that person or people,” Sammons said.
The open houses at local fire departments go on throughout the weekend. To find one in your area you can visit the RecruitNY website.