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Colton, Hopkinton-Ft. Jackson, Madrid, Pierrepont recruiting volunteer firefighters

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COLTON - The Colton Volunteer Fire Department will open its doors to area residents, so they can learn about what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter in their community, as part of the third annual RecruitNY statewide initiative.

Over the last several years, it has been very tough for many fire departments throughout New York State to recruit and retain volunteers for a variety of reasons. Like most volunteer fire departments, the Colton Volunteer Fire Department needs to bolster its emergency responder numbers, so it can continue to provide the optimum level of protection for its residents.

As part of RecruitNY, the Colton Volunteer Fire Department located at 89 Riverside Drive will join volunteer fire departments all across the state at their respective firehouses between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m Saturday for a unified recruitment drive, as part of National Volunteer Week 2013. Not only will RecruitNY be an opportunity to highlight the duties and rewards that come with being a volunteer firefighter, it will also raise public awareness about the need for volunteers.

Throughout the day, the Colton Volunteer Fire Department will conduct tours of the station and firefighter apparatus, allow visitors to try on firefighter gear, and provide activities and stations throughout the firehouse for visitors. The fire department will discuss the requirements to be a volunteer, as well as conduct demonstrations, answer questions, and let visitors know how to get involved in the fire department.

“Come on out and join us for this unique recruitment day at our firehouse,” said Chief Bill Smith. “This is a great opportunity for our neighbors to observe the exciting tasks of a firefighter. Our current members love what they do; they are everyday heroes who help neighbors in need. We hope our recruitment day will inspire other area residents to join our fire service family.”

The goal of RecruitNY is that the collaborative effort among volunteer fire departments statewide will turn the declining number of volunteer firefighters around. RecruitNY is one example of FASNY’s key initiatives to recruit and retain volunteers. Over the last year and a half, FASNY has worked exceptionally hard to build and deploy a multi-tiered plan for helping New York State’s over 1,700 volunteer fire departments recruit over 15,000 new volunteer firefighters across the state by utilizing federal SAFER grant funds for programs including the “Fire in You” advertising campaign, FASNY HELP community college tuition reimbursement program, and recruitment training classes.

Established in 2011, RecruitNY is a joint undertaking by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC), Association of Fire Districts of New York State, Volunteer Fire Police Association of the State of New York, and County Fire Coordinators Association of the State of New York. Last year, fire departments in more than 50 counties across the state participated in the first annual RecruitNY weekend.

For area residents looking for more information, or to find out if your fire department is participating in RecruitNY, visit www.recruitny.org or contact your local fire department via a non-emergency phone number or its website.

Other St. Lawrence County fire departments participating are DeKalb Junction and Star Lake, Saturday and Sunday; Pierrepont, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday; Edwards, Sunday; Heuvelton, Hopkinton-Ft. Jackson and Madrid, Saturday.

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