The volunteer fire service is at a serious crossroads. Current membership is at its lowest point in nearly two decades, and further erosion could have dire consequences.
What the general public may not realize is the fire companies protecting their communities are often staffed exclusively by volunteers. When an emergency breaks out, these volunteers leave their homes and offices to respond, not the local firehouse, as paid firefighters do.
But as today’s volunteers retire, few from the next generation are stepping up to replace them. This is especially concerning in New York State’s rural Albany County, where a small number of volunteers protect residents spread across a wide geographic area. Albany County’s rural fire companies are looking for new members, and significant benefits come with volunteering.
We are joined by Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy. Mr. McCoy is a lifelong Albany resident, former volunteer and professional firefighter and EMT, and a sergeant first class in the New York Army National Guard; Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company Chief Kevin Flensted, an 18 year veteran of the volunteer fire service with over 1,000 hours of state fire and EMS training; and East Berne Volunteer Firefighter Mary Alice Molgard.
To learn more visit fireinyou.org.