FALCONER, NY (WNY News Now) — With volunteerism at an all time low, fire departments across Chautauqua County are raising awareness about the importance of recruiting new members.
When you pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1 in Chautauqua County, a fast response generally follows. Unfortunately, with manpower at an all time low local volunteer fire departments are stretched thin.
“Our manpower that we have now, we’re sitting at about 52 members and on an EMS call we get five or six members to show up occasionally depending on the time of day. It affects the department’s responses, response times,” said Falconer Fire Department Chief Bryce Webster.
Falconer Fire Chief Bryce Webster is highlighting the vital need for volunteers.
“Every seat filled when the truck goes out the door, enough manpower to relieve the crews after 10 to 15 minutes of work, cycle through different personnel and keep everybody active and everybody safe,” Chief Webster said.
The department is among those taking part in RecruitNY this Saturday, hosting a Firehouse Flapjacks open house to not just enjoy pancakes.
“We have a pancake breakfast on Saturday, it’s for Recruit New York. It’s a state-wide effort, volunteer departments, there’s 42 in the county, each department does a different thing. We’re going to do some drills, some technical rescue things down here and kind of show off what we do,” explained Chief Webster.
The Chief has been with the department for over three decades, and for a good reason.
“Serving the community, it’s kind of a self-worth being here to serve the community and do something right. It’s a family here, you can’t leave a family,” Chief Webster said.
The department acknowledges there is a job for everyone interested in joining ranks, from EMS to firefighting to pump operators.
To learn more about the Falconer Fire Department, visit their Facebook page.