(WBNG) — More than 500 fire departments across New York are gearing up for the ninth annual ‘RecruitNY’ weekend.
The event is taking place April 27 and April 28. Those days local fire departments will open its doors and tell you what it’s like being a volunteer firefighter.
“If we don’t have the people, the people are our most valuable asset,” said village of Deposit Assistant Fire Chief Christopher Zacharias. “If we don’t have them, the trucks won’t get out the door. We can’t serve the community. So having the people here whether it be daytime or night time is crucial for us.”
Zacharias says it’s a rewarding experience.
“Every time we go out the door on a call we’re making a difference in someone’s life,” he said. “Whether it be by providing EMS, pre-hospital care, or saving property.”‘
The event is put on by the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY).
“Unfortunately the number of volunteer firefighters in New York and frankly New York is on a decline for a number of different reasons,” said FASNY Association Secretary John D’Alessandro.
FASNY leaders say that’s because people say they don’t have the time or aren’t fit for the position.
“Here in New York back in 1998-1999 there were about 11,000 volunteers across the state,” said D’Alessandro. “But 2010 that number had to drop to approximately 84,000.”
The goal is to get back on track.
“In 2014 we were back up to 105,000 volunteers and we believe that’s where we are at right now,” D’Alessandro.
If you think there isn’t a job for you, there is.
“We have positions for administrative,” said Zacharias. “We have a benevolent committee that does strictly fundraising. So even if you think you can’t get into a burning building, there is a job for you.”
To see which local fire departments are participating, click here.