Recruit NY campaign returning after a year away

Seven volunteer fire companies in Niagara County are signed up to take part in the 12th annual Recruit NY Weekend organized by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York. Recruit NY Weekend is Saturday and Sunday.

Participating companies include Rapids, Middleport, Terry's Corners, Shawnee, Adams, Active Hose and Wendelville.

“Hundreds of volunteer fire departments across New York will be participating in Recruit NY. We invite all New Yorkers to attend an open house and safely experience what it means to be a volunteer firefighter,” FASNY President John Farrell said in an announcement. “After the year we have been through, Recruit NY weekend can provide people with the opportunity to interact with the responders who are dedicated to protecting them.”

FASNY reports that firefighters are responding to more calls now than ever, and the calls are increasingly diverse. Alongside medical emergencies and COVID-19 calls, firefighters are being summoned to assist with flooded basements, downed power lines, motor vehicle accidents and, of course, fires.

In 2019, more than 600 fire companies across the state held recruitment open houses. In 2020 the campaign was postponed due to the pandemic.

In response to COVID-19 this year, many companies are organizing a virtual open house or conducting other digital outreach to potential volunteers. Some, based on local conditions, may elect to open their doors to the public "in person." Traditionally, participating companies offer tours of their facilities, demonstrate firefighting techniques and invite visitors to try on turnout gear.

Here's how to contact participating local fire companies to find out more about their Recruit NY plans.

• Rapids Volunteer Fire Company, Saturday and Sunday, call 434-4502.

• Middleport Fire Department, Saturday, call 698-8753.

Terry's Corners Volunteer Fire Company, Saturday and Sunday, call 434-4800.

Shawnee Volunteer Fire Company, Saturday and Sunday, call 525-3674.

Adams Volunteer Fire Company (North Tonawanda), Saturday, call 692-3212.

Active Hose Company (North Tonawanda), Sunday, call 693-3640.

Wendelville Volunteer Fire Company, Saturday, call 693-4747.

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