The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) announced today that it has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to recruit new volunteer firefighters. The four-year Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant is awarded by the United States Department of Homeland Security. The funding will be used to create statewide outreach campaigns, awareness programs and recruitment and retention activities.
“Volunteer fire departments provide vital emergency response services throughout most of New York State. Unfortunately, with increasing call volumes and other challenges, we need more volunteers to staff those departments properly and effectively,” said Kenneth Pienkowski, President of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY). “This SAFER grant will greatly increase the existing efforts of the volunteer fire service to recruit and retain members. We are very grateful to all of our Federal elected officials for their help in securing this grant.”
Currently, there are almost 1,800 volunteer fire departments in New York State, staffed by approximately 100,000 volunteer firefighters. With an increasingly complex mission and growing call volumes, more volunteers are needed to ensure timely and adequate response in the communities they serve 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Economic and societal factors continue to present challenges to volunteer recruitment and retention. The goal of the FASNY recruitment campaign funded by this SAFER grant will be to educate the public on the important service volunteer firefighters provide in their communities and in-turn, solicit more members of the community to become volunteers.