CICERO, N.Y (NCC NEWS)- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill, creating a New York State retention task force for volunteer firefighters. In New York, there are more than 100,000 volunteer firefighters and 17,771 fire departments. According to the national fire protection associations, 69% of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.
The Firemen’s Association studied and identified three primary reasons people are not becoming volunteer firefighters. The three reasons are
- I have a busy life
- it’s not in me, and I am not that person,
- I don’t know-how.
The Firemen’s Association has been trying to address those three issues for a couple of years. The task force will create a report within the first 120 days after its first meeting the association secretary of FASNY, John D’Alessandro stated.
“Most people that watch Backdraft or Chicago Fire think that you know, fire emergency response is done by career firefighters,” D’Alessandro said . “But the reality of it is in New York State, and frankly in the nation. 80 to 85% of all fire and emergency response was done by volunteers.”
Firefighters in Cicero said that they do it to help the community that they live in.
Lieutenant Benjamin Kittle has been a volunteer Firefighter since 2003. He works as a web developer during the day and helps respond to fire emergencies at night. The Cicero fire department gets between 800 and 1000 calls a year.
“I’m constantly thinking about my family when we’re when we’re, you know, both responding to emergencies or preparing for emergencies,”Kittle said . “How would I want my family, taking care of.”
Lieutenant Jeremy Hemmingway of the Cicero Fire Department has volunteered at two different stations for ten years because he likes helping his community.
“I wanted to help my community and, you know, show other people that Hey, there are still some good people out there that still want to help,” Hemmingway said.
Kittle said that he believes that this will be a well-coordinated effort to help the recruitment of Volunteer firefighting.