Local departments open their doors in statewide push for new volunteers

This weekend, fire stations will be opening their doors to the public, hoping to attract new volunteers as part of a statewide recruitment program called “Volunteer New York.”

Fire crews will be hosting various events at their stations aimed at generating interest in firefighting, hoping to add new members to their ranks, as part of a larger push by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York.

The Norwich Fire Department will have an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, at which its members will perform several demonstrations involving emergency vehicle extractions, fire hose operation, CPR, the role of fire police and a power point presentation.

Norwich First Assistant Chief Jan Papelino said his goal is for Norwich to sign up at least six new volunteers. Papelino said the event won’t be like the station’s annual open house, because the activities are being specially aimed at allowing perspective volunteers to have a “hands-on experience.”

“We want people to have a good experience and see what things are about. We just don’t want to be demonstrating all day – we want people to try some things out, too,” said Papelino. He explained that participants will be invited to handle heavy equipment, try on gear and participate in other activities under supervision, including operating the jaws of life.

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