DEFERIET, N.Y. (WWNY) - “We only have 4 people that are within close enough time to get a truck out the door within the 2 minute allotted state time,” said Richard Montroy.
It’s a problem that Montroy, a volunteer firefighter for the Deferiet Fire department, says his department deals with daily.
Montroy says the department has 15 volunteers that live within a 10 mile radius of the station but they are trying to bring that number up.
“We take anybody that is willing to help whether it is just to drive, fire police, or someone that knows how to pump the trucks and has previous experience,” said Montroy.
That’s what this Recruit NY weekend is all about. Put on by the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, it’s a way for volunteer fire departments to open up their doors to the public to attract new volunteers.
Just down the street in West Carthage, the volunteer pool is a little bigger at around 44 members. But Chief Peter Crump says the department is always looking to add more.
“I mean, we are struggling like anybody else. I mean, we are fortunate that we have some dedicated members and our numbers have kind of held strong over the years,” said Crump.
Crump says the department’s junior firefighter program for 13 - 16-year-olds and the restricted age membership for those 16 -18 has helped to keep the numbers up.
Harrison Scott is a newer recruit and says he is excited to join the fold when he turns 18.
“A big part of it is just knowing you can help your community. When they are having their worst days, you are there to help them,” said Harrison Scott, a volunteer in West Carthage.
So, if you are interested in joining a volunteer department in your area, give them a call at a non-emergency number to see how your skillset could help make a difference in the community.