January 30, 2014
CONTACT: Peter Anderson / Peter.Anderson@erie.gov
Phone: (716)858-8500 / Mobile: (716) 270-7842
OVER 700 VOLUNTEERS JOINED RANKS OF
ERIE COUNTY FIREFIGHTERS IN 2013
December’s Total of 58 New Recruits Pushes 2013 Total over 700
ERIE COUNTY, NY— The Erie County Department of Emergency Services is pleased to announce that over 700 new recruits swelled the ranks of volunteer fire companies across Erie County during 2013. This influx of new volunteers came from across the County’s 94 fire departments and will augment the over 5,000-member strong volunteer firefighting force that currently serves Erie County’s municipalities.
“One of the best ways an individual can become involved in their community and help to make it stronger is through public service, and I thank the volunteers who answered the call to perform this vital role,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “They are now part of a strong volunteer firefighting tradition in Erie County, one that builds more resilient communities and makes our area a better place to live.”
Erie County Emergency Services Commissioner Dan Neaverth, Jr. added, “I’m thrilled to see the recruitment efforts hit such an impressive number but now the hard work begins. Converting those applicants into front line firefighters is a complex process, requiring a long term commitment by the volunteer, their department and elected officials. This recruitment must be complimented with retention and Erie County is positioned nicely to achieve both.”
Erie County Deputy Fire Coordinator Tiger Schmittendorf said, “While this tremendous response is a direct result of the team effort between our Department of Emergency Services, the Firemen’s Association of New York (FASNY) and our county’s volunteer fire departments –it speaks volumes about the great people of our community that more than 700 of them would step up to serve, just in the past year alone.”
These 700 new recruits are in addition to the more than 600 new volunteers who joined the county’s fire service in 2012. Volunteers provide fire protection and/or emergency medical services in every community in Erie County outside of the Cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna.
While county officials are pleased that these numbers buck the national trend of a decline in volunteerism, there’s still room for plenty more in several communities throughout the county as current volunteers leave active duty or seek to balance their fire service activities with growing family commitments.
“FASNY’s ‘VolunteerNY’ Volunteer Fire Department Open House program last April was a big part of our campaign’s overall success,” Schmittendorf added, achieving double the monthly goal of new volunteers recruited in May-2013. This year’s VolunteerNY Open House program is scheduled for April 26 & 27, 2014.
Erie County Emergency Services serves as the clearinghouse for all volunteer firefighter recruitment inquires and efforts through its online presence at: iVolunteerFIRE.org. Their campaign slogan is: “We are Erie County Volunteer Firefighters: More than 5,000 strong. With you we can be stronger!”
A key component of the county’s overall recruitment effort is an innovative program that serves to connect veterans with the volunteer fire service through SoldierFirefighter.com, recognizing the common values, needs and benefits of those who have served their country in the armed forces – and those who serve their community in the volunteer fire service.
Anyone interested in exploring available volunteering opportunities are encouraged to reach out to their local volunteer fire department, visit iVolunteerFIRE.org, find iVolunteerFIRE on Facebook, follow @iVolunteerFIRE on Twitter or call the RecruitmentHQ Hotline at 716-601-3021.
For more information:
On the Erie County Department of Emergency Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/emergencyservices/
FOR MEDIA: To arrange for quotations from, or media interviews with any new volunteer firefighters, please contact Deputy Fire Coordinator Tiger Schmittendorf at 716.777.0205 or firstname.lastname@example.org