continued “Last year, nearly 600 departments in 59 counties across the state participated in RecruitNY and we expect even more counties to get involved this year,” said James A. Burns, president of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. "RecruitNY has proven a success in past years and is a key initiative to help bolster membership numbers so fire departments can continue to provide the optimum level of protection to their local residents."
A report by the National Fire Protection Association says volunteer fire departments save the nation in donated time, alone, more than $140 billion. That cost savings to the taxpayers, along with the dedication and devotion to the community, is why programs like RecruitNY are so important, local fire leaders have said.
For many, the fire service has been a constant since childhood, instilling in children the traditions of the fire service before most know how to count.
“I've been in these fire stations since I was a grasshopper," said Ormsby. He comes from a long line of firefighters — currently serving alongside his father in the department, a life member. "I’ve never known anything different than to help and be at the fire department. At a very young age, I was able to watch my father make a difference in his community."
And making a difference, they say, is the reason they’re there.
“There’s really no boundaries of what we will or won't do," said Ormsby. The calls on a daily basis can run the gamut from medical emergencies, structure fires or assisting citizens.
“When the bell strikes, I get my gear on and go," said bunk-in firefighter Nick Scoones. He’s one of three bunk-ins who live in the fire stations while attending Onondaga Community College for fire protection technology. "I don’t know what we’re going to do that day.”