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REPORT: Volunteer firefighters desperately needed across Upstate NY

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

State Senator Tom O’Mara emphasized the importance of recruiting volunteer firefighters in New York as he announced the annual “Recruit NY” weekend. Scheduled for April 13 and 14, the campaign aims to bolster the ranks of volunteers across the state. During the event, fire departments in the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes regions, and statewide are set to open their doors to the public, showcasing the critical role of volunteers and encouraging community members to join.

The “Recruit NY” campaign, sponsored by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), responds to the dwindling number of volunteer firefighters and EMTs. O’Mara pointed to the significant economic impact and essential public safety service these volunteers provide, stressing that their decline poses a threat to rural communities’ safety and financial stability.

FASNY’s campaign also includes legislative support, with proposals for increased state tax credits for volunteers and the promotion of the “Omnibus Emergency Services Volunteer Incentive Act” by local lawmakers. These initiatives aim to reverse the steep decline in volunteer numbers and maintain the economic benefits that volunteer fire departments contribute to the state, valued at nearly $4 billion annually in taxpayer savings.