Fire departments around the region will be looking for new members this weekend as part of ninth annual Recruit NY, which is sponsored by the Fireman's Association of the State of New York.
"I think state wide it has been an effective recruiting tool," said Bill Cairns, first assistant chief of the Delhi Fire Department, which will hold an open house Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. "We're hoping for it to be a success, because it is getting harder and harder to find volunteers. Volunteers are not coming out of the woodwork."
According to a media release from the West Oneonta Fire Department, there will be an open house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
"This is an excellent opportunity for people to meet their local volunteer firefighters and learn a bit more about the fire service," West Oneonta Chief Walt Schmitt Jr. said in a media release. "Volunteer firefighters are everyday heroes who dedicate their spare time to helping people in their times of need. We are always looking for new members, and it is our hope that after seeing the incredible camaraderie of the firehouse up close, more people will be interested in becoming part of our very special family."
Events this weekend will vary by station, but all will include open houses and tours. Some stations will also hold barbecues, demonstrate equipment and have activities for kids.
Some of those events will depend on the weather. For instance, in Unadilla there is a LifeNet helicopter landing scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Many of the departments will have informational classes, too, including several for fire safety and prevention.
Although the event is marketed as a recruitment for firefighters, most departments will also be recruiting for emergency medical service volunteers, too.
"What we hope to get is some people coming in who may have been thinking about volunteering already, and now they can come in and talk with us and see what it is about," Cairns said. "I think it is best for people to see a real look at what is involved in it."
According to the RecruitNY.org website, there will be events in the area on both days. Departments listed as having events on Saturday are: Genegantslet, Greene, New Berlin, Norwich and Oxford in Chenango County; Bovina, East Meredith, Hancock and Margaretville in Delaware County; Gilberstville, Middlefield, Unadilla, West Bridge, West Laurens and West Oneonta in Otsego County; Central Bridge, Charlotteville, Cobleskill, Huntersland and Middleburgh in Schoharie County. On Sunday, events are scheduled in Delhi in Delaware County, East Worcester in Otsego County and the town of Broome in Schoharie County. In Brisbane and Plymouth in Chenango County, events are listed on Saturday and Sunday.
According to the West Oneonta media release, Recruit NY has helped volunteer fire departments gain more than 25,000 news members since the event was started in 2011.
Go to www.recruitny.org/ for more information.