Elmira, N.Y., April 19—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) reminded area residents today that volunteer fire departments across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions will hold Open Houses on the weekend of April 27-28 as part of “Recruit NY,” a statewide initiative sponsored by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), the state Association of Fire Chiefs and others to encourage the recruitment of local volunteer firefighters and EMTs.
The event is coordinated by FASNY to coincide with this year's observance of National Volunteer Week from April 21-27.
O'Mara praised the upcoming Recruit NY effort.
"The challenge of recruiting volunteer firefighters and EMTs, especially in our rural, upstate communities, deserves all of the attention it gets,” said O’Mara. “It’s an issue that we need to keep working on.”
According to FASNY, the number of volunteer firefighters statewide has declined from 140,000 in the early 1990s to less than 90,000 today. Volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs) experienced a decline from more than 50,000 to 35,000 during the same period, with some rural counties experiencing as much as a 50-percent depletion of their EMT ranks.
FASNY has also estimated that it would cost local taxpayers more than $5 billion annually to replace volunteers with paid fire and ambulance services.
For more information, including a list of local open houses planned for April 27 and April 28, visit www.recruitny.org/opendoors.php