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Volunteer fire departments to recruit new members this weekend through open houses

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Many people wouldn’t run into a burning building for all the money in the world.

And yet in the United States, most fire departments rely solely on unpaid members to operate. Day after day, volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line for nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing they’ve helped save lives and preserve property.

Ever wonder why they do this? Volunteer fire departments across the state are providing an opportunity for people to discover what it takes to join their ranks with open houses this weekend.

Members of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York will hold their annual open houses today and tomorrow. The RecruitNY events strive to familiarize residents with how local volunteer fire departments serve their communities and to solicit new volunteer help.

Dale F. Barker is the assistant volunteer programs coordinator for FASNY and director of emergency preparedness at Lewis County General Hospital, Lowville. In a Wednesday story in the Journal & Republican, he said that RecruitNY allows residents to learn how their tax dollars are spent by volunteer fire departments, ask questions and raise concerns. It also aims to introduce new people to the volunteer fire service and boost membership at local departments, he said.

Many communities couldn’t maintain public safety without their volunteer fire departments. It’s asking a lot to expect highly trained individuals to be prepared to take control of an emergency situation on a moment’s notice with no promise of compensation.

Yet numerous people across the country perform this service every day. And volunteers can serve fire departments in many ways.

“Departments not only need volunteers for typical firefighting duties but also other services like bookkeeping and fundraising, giving people many different ways to serve, Mr. Barker said,” according to the Wednesday story.

Volunteer fire departments throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties will hold open houses this weekend. Visit www.RecruitNY.org for more information about the days and times for open house events in the north country. It’s an opportunity to discover how volunteer fire departments are serving our communities and also a time to thank the many men and women who keep our homes, businesses and public buildings safe around the clock.

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