CORTLANDVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – This weekend, volunteer fire departments across New York will host open houses in hopes of signing up new members.
The campaign is called RecruitNY.
The Firefighters Association of the State of New York called the need for firefighters, “a significant and growing problem.” It estimates that there are about 40,000 fewer volunteer members statewide than about 20 years ago.
What is it like to wear the gear and answer the call?
The Cortlandville Fire Department invited Morning News anchor Ryan Dean to their firehouse to participate in live, controlled burn.
Watch the video above to see him go through the training.
Cortlandville’s Deputy Chief, Mike Biviano, said it takes about 190 hours in Cortland County for a volunteer to go through all the training before they can become an interior firefighter.
He described the modern day volunteer firefighter as a “Jack of all trades,” needing to be specialized in many areas, from structure fires, rope rescues to vehicle extrications.
As Cortlandville and other volunteer departments look for new members, he said departments are accommodating to members’ busy schedules.
“It’s quite rewarding. You’ll learn a whole new skillset, you’ll meet a whole new group of friends and family. When you come into the firehouse it becomes a second family,” Biviano said.