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A Spotlight on Volunteer Firefighter Recruitment  

Volunteer fire departments across New York State – and Putnam County – will open their doors to residents Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14, as part of the 15th annual RecruitNY weekend. This event is a major initiative of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York, designed to help increase volunteer membership in local fire departments. 

The Kent Fire Department will hold an open house Sunday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 2490 Route 301, rain or shine. There will be live demonstrations, children’s activities, tours of the vehicles and firehouse, and more. Supporter T-shirts, mugs and challenge coins will be available for purchase, and there will be giveaways for kids.

In addition, PawSafe Animal Rescue will be present with adoptable dogs. Adoptions are done by appointment; fill out the application at so that one can be scheduled.

Lake Carmel Fire Department will also hold its open house Sunday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 851 Route 52, Carmel. There will be K-9 demonstrations, a rollover simulator, pet adoptions, clothing drive, touch-a-truck and more.

Coinciding with RecruitNY this year, FASNY is adding a little color into the mix. To publicize the need and increase staffing at the state’s volunteer departments, the association will launch the “Fire Up NY Red” (#FireUpNYRed) campaign through April 14. During this time, FASNY is asking that residents, businesses, landmarks and government buildings turn their lights red to spotlight the need for volunteer firefighters across the Empire State. 

“We are excited to ‘fire up’ the state red this April for firefighter recruitment,” said FASNY President Edward Tase Jr. “We’re working with state and local officials to get some of our biggest landmarks involved. But we are also hoping that all New Yorkers will join us and turn their lights red in support of this initiative.”

Some partners include JMA Wireless Dome at Syracuse University, which will be turning red for the entire weekend of FASNY’s RecruitNY; and Nassau County, which will support firefighter recruitment by lighting the dome red on the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building in Mineola.

“The lights symbolize our commitment to a tradition of community help and the need for more volunteers,” said Tase. 

The past several years have been challenging for volunteer fire departments throughout the state, with many facing decreased membership but an increasing call volume. It has been estimated that there are 40,000 fewer volunteer firefighters than there were two decades ago.

Departments have found it increasingly challenging to recruit new firefighters and retain existing volunteers due to the turbulent economy, busy lives and schedules, and other lifestyle factors. 

In communities across the state, volunteer firefighters answer calls for medical emergencies, home emergencies including flooded basements, lithium battery fires, downed power lines, automobile accidents and, of course fires – both residential and commercial. More firefighters are needed to help meet these 21st-century challenges, and bolstering their ranks is critical to providing optimum and necessary levels of protection for residents.

FASNY would like to showcase the state’s “Fire Up NY Red” efforts, both in the magazine and on social media with the hashtag #FireUpNYRed. Send your photos with a short caption to

Founded in 1872, the Firefighters Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the 80,000 volunteer firefighters in New York. For more information,


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