CHENANGO COUNTY – A number of Chenango fire departments will open their doors to the public this weekend as part of their participation in the Firemen’s Association of New York State’s annual RecruitNY event. Aimed at boosting volunteerism statewide, the recruitment-based open house event is an opportunity to learn more about their local fire department and how they can lend a helping hand.
According to Deputy Fire Coordinator Michael Beckwith, volunteer numbers are down across the county, in some cases upwards of 15 to 20 percent. As such, promoting volunteer fire service and recruiting new members has never been more important.
Said Beckwith, “It is absolutely a problem right now and volunteerism across the board – firefighters, EMS providers, auxiliary members, even Explorer Posts (through the Boy Scouts of America) – is down. We need to get people to realize that it’s more than just going into burning buildings ... I think people misinterpret that sometimes.”