Recruiting and retaining their volunteers

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Fire departments across the Five Towns are looking for dedicated residents willing to volunteer their time as firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Departments across the state have faced struggles with recruiting and retaining volunteers in recent years for numerous reasons. The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) coordinated its annual ‘RecruitNY’ campaign on April 26-27, as volunteer fire departments across the state opened their doors to recruit new members. “Recruit NY has proven a success in past years and is a key initiative to help bolster membership numbers, so fire departments can continue to provide the optimum level of protection to their local residents,” said FASNY President James Burns. More than 600 departments participated in last year’s campaign, now in its fourth year, according to FASNY. The Woodmere Fire Department is always looking for dedicated volunteers, according to Chief Lenny Cherson. “Everybody is welcome to join and serve the community,” he said. The department utilizes various methods to recruit new members throughout the year, including its bi-annual fund mailing drive, advertisements, as well as signs on telephone poles outside of local schools, houses of worship and the business district. The department participated in the ‘RecruitNY’ campaign on April 27, but Cherson noted that the event is “mainly for smaller departments upstate, north of Orange County,” which cover a larger area in terms of land. The department provides fire, rescue and emergency medical services to residents of the unincorporated communities of Woodmere and Cedar Bay Park, as well as the incorporated villages of Woodsburgh, Hewlett Neck and portions of Hewlett Harbor. It also provides mutual aid... ... middle of paper ... ...efighter and I think its a necessity for our community,” said Jason Hagler, a Woodmere firefighter for more than six years. Hagler also owns Woodmere-based Rapid Motion Technology, a low-voltage contractor and security system installation company, and balances his business with volunteering. “It’s a tremendous struggle, but its an important cause to the community and I make it work,” Hagler said. “There’s a tremendous need in our community for volunteer firefighters and EMTs,” he added, encouraging prospective members to join. Woodmere resident Ariel Pfeifer, 17, intends on joining the Woodmere Fire Department this summer as a firefighter. The Woodmere resident has been a junior firefighter with the department for a year, which exposed him to the volunteer fire service. “I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter because I want to help serve my community,” he said.

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