“Everyone should serve their community, in whatever way they see fit. This is my window to help. I don’t think I can do this 20 years from now. Everyone should seize their opportunity to help out when they can.”
-- Kip Williams
Each volunteer on the fire protection or EMT side saves municipalities thousands of dollars -- nationally, volunteers save the nation about $37.2 billion in costs that would have to be paid to career staff.
“People volunteering are saving millions of dollars,” Davenport said. “If you didn’t have the volunteers, you would have to be paying them.”
Locally, nearly all departments in the county are volunteer. The departments are typically contracted through the village or town and assigned to a fire protection district. Fayetteville, Manlius and DeWitt have partially-paid departments, mixing career staff with volunteers.
“Everyone should serve their community, in whatever way they see fit,” Williams said. “This is my window to help. I don’t think I can do this 20 years from now. Everyone should seize their opportunity to help out when they can.”
Volunteering your time in some capacity is an important role of any community member, said Kevin Best, director of medical operations at the Manlius Fire Department.
“It’s kind of fun, but it’s also community commitment,” he said. “You need to have a void that needs filling, and it has to be related to helping other people.”
The reason anyone walks through the doors at the department is constantly changing, but the reason they stay is the same -- community service.
“It gives you an opportunity to be inside that line,” said John Winslow, a Manlius firefighter. “You’re not a bystander. You’re a person who’s actually doing something to help.”
While the majority of fire calls aren’t structure fires, being there for the community during a vulnerable time is the root of the service, Williams said.