RecruitNY event to be held in Stratford on April 28

STRATFORD — The Stratford Volunteer Fire Company will join firehouses across the state on the last weekend in April for the eighth annual RecruitNY, a major initiative of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York designed to increase membership in the volunteer fire service.

The Stratford Fire Company will be holding an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at the firehouse, 199 County Highway. 119, next to the Stratford Town Garage, according to a news release.

The event is designed so members of the public will be able to get a taste of what it means to be a volunteer firefighter.

Across New York state, volunteer firefighters will be conducting firehouse tours, demonstrating firefighting techniques, and more, all to generate interest and appreciation for what members of the fire service do on a regular basis.

Anyone interested in the possibility of joining the fire service will have the opportunity to speak with active volunteers, who can discuss what being a member of the fire service entails, the news release stated.

Volunteer opportunities extend well beyond battling fires according to the Stratford Volunteer Fire Company. Volunteer firefighters are often called up to help with traffic control at accidents and other emergency situations. Scene support firefighters assist moving equipment and supplies and fire police direct traffic and set up safety zones in an around emergency scenes. Volunteers can also help with station house and equipment maintenance and repair, the news release stated.

The volunteer fire service has a long heritage in New York, and is integrated into the social fabric of the state. Volunteer fire departments not only answer emergency calls, but they often serve as the backbones of local communities, hosting popular events such as parades and pancake breakfasts, and providing common space for people to gather. The volunteer fire service’s economic impact is also substantial, the news release stated.

The Stratford Firehouse is set up to serve as an official Red Cross emergency shelter in the event of local disaster situation. It is equipped with kitchen facilities and emergency stand-by power, the news release stated.

In addition, according to the new release, volunteer firefighters save New Yorkers money. In 2016, FASNY released an economic impact report, which concluded that the annual cost of a replacement, all-paid fire service would be $3.87 billion.

The volunteer fire service, and efforts like RecruitNY, make the state not only safer, but also more affordable, the news release stated.

According to RecruitNY, more than 20,000 firefighters have been added in New York State since the initiative began back in 2011.

By Kerry Minor

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