SAFER Initiative


Due in part to a growing and increasingly complex mission, it has become difficult for New York’s volunteer fire departments to recruit and retain members. To address this vital need for volunteers, FASNY secured a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant.

This large award supports a statewide recruitment and retention effort to keep the volunteer firefighters already serving their communities has added more than 20,000 to the New York State volunteer fire service over the years. This translates into improving fire operations by reducing response times of departments throughout New York State.

Your Role:

Each department has a stake in the success of our SAFER activities. We need you to:

  • Fill out your Fire Department Information Form. This information is an important part of the auto-referral system that potential recruits will be using to be referred locally. Is your department listed? Find out!
  • When you receive FASNY’s Fire Department Census, fill it out and return it promptly. The completion of an accurate department census is a key grant requirement.
  • Keep your fire reports up to date. This is another SAFER grant requirement.
  • Submit your Volunteer Profile Form for all your walk-in recruits


Help us amplify the message behind “Fire in You.” This statewide media campaign includes social media and digital ads targeted at a younger audience. Radio and TV ads are also running throughout the State. Your department can reinforce the message with the numerous resources available for download year-round at

Use these downloadable, customizable resources to promote events like Fire Prevention Week in October or just post these materials around town or online. Together, we can create a united message to help the community now, when it needs it most.

Take part in RecruitNY Weekend. Each April, hundreds of fire departments across the State open their doors for RecruitNY. This is your chance to join them by hosting your own open house. Show your community the value of the volunteer fire service and share your passion with neighbors, family and friends with RecruitNY!

Get HELP. The Higher Education Learning Plan (HELP) began in 2011 and has accepted up to 100 recipients each semester, each year thanks to the SAFER grant. Any active volunteer firefighter seeking any college degree is invited to apply.

Over the years, HELP and its up to $1,500 per semester award have evolved. Initially open to those enrolling at community (two-year) colleges, the program now covers two- and four-year schools in New York State as well as advanced degrees. HELP can also be applied to online classes taken through Empire State College. And recipients can re-apply each semester.