Warrensburg Senior citizens enjoy a recent year’s edition of the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner offered to the public by the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co.. This agency and other fire companies in the region are holding open houses Saturday April 26 to recruit new members, as well as describe the duties and benefits of becoming a volunteer firefighter. Courtesy Photo
A number of fire companies in the southern Adirondacks will be hosting open houses soon in an effort to recruit volunteers, to explain the benefits of service as a volunteer firefighter, and to raise awareness in the community.
The open houses, set for Saturday April 26 and one on Sunday April 27, are being held in conjunction with the statewide RecruitNY weekend, an annual initiative to boost the ranks of volunteer firefighters.
In northern Warren County, the Pottersville Volunteer Fire Department will be kicking off their day-long open house at 8 a.m. Saturday with a pancake breakfast, and all area citizens are invited.
Throughout the day, the Pottersville fire officials will conduct tours of the station and firefighter apparatus, and allow visitors to try on firefighter gear. The fire department will discuss the requirements to be a volunteer, as well as conduct demonstrations, answer questions, and let visitors know how to get involved in the fire department.
In central Warren County, the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co. will be conducting an open house at their fire hall on Elm St. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. There, the fire officials will also be conducting tours, answering questions about fire service and talking to citizens about joining their fire company.
A few miles south, the Lake George Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday as they welcome community members and prospective firefighters.
In northern Warren County, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Co. will be hosting an open house on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at their fire hall at 5885 state Rte. 8.
Pottersville Fire Chief Guy Swartwout said this week that it has been difficult for fire companies across the state to recruit and retain volunteers, considering the ever-increasing demands on people’s time.
“Like most volunteer fire departments, the Pottersville Volunteer Fire Department needs to bolster its emergency responder numbers so it can continue to provide the optimum level of protection for its residents,” Swartwout said.
Warrensburg Fire Co. President Kevin Geraghty said this week that his fire company presently has 34 members, a solid number. He said that the group includes 12 local citizens who’ve joined since 2012 — despite increased training requirements in recent years.
“We’re pleased with our membership, but more members are certainly welcome,” he said, noting that application forms will be available at the open house.
“The rewards of becoming a firefighter are helping people on an almost everyday basis, no matter what type of emergency they may have,” Geraghty said.
He noted that although residential fires are less common, the Warrensburg Fire Company is as active as ever, particularly in community service. Such charitable initiatives include sponsoring events for seniors, adults and children, or raising money to sponsor teams, scholarships or special projects.
Swartwout, chief of the Pottersville Fire Dept. for decades, also noted the community-oriented commitment that is a basic aspect of being a firefighter.
“Our current members love what they do; they are everyday heroes who help neighbors in need,” he said. “We hope our recruitment day will inspire other area residents to join our fire service family.”
Barbara McGuirk, president of the Lake George Fire Department, said that the rewards of being a firefighter are many, but the one that trumps them all is community service.
“The main benefit to volunteers is the satisfaction of giving back to your community,” she said noting that rewards of fire company membership include networking opportunities, length-of-service benefits, tuition reimbursement for attending a local community college, and scholarships for children of members. “Our event will be very informal —Hopefully we’ll get a few new members.”
Chestertown Volunteer Fire Co. Asst. Chief Dave Scroggins said that at his organization’s open house on Saturday, he’s expecting potential volunteers to experience the camaraderie the firefighters enjoy at their various events including their annual Superbowl party.
“When men and women join the company, they become a member of a team, a fraternity of firefighters,” he said. “And the bigger the pool of volunteers we can recruit, the faster we can get a truck out to an emergency.”
Scroggins noted that on Friday April 25, the fire companies of Chestertown, Horicon and Pottersville will have representatives at North Warren Central School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to discuss fire service with students.
“We’ll be reaching out to the kids, because some of the 18-year-olds may want to join, and the younger ones might be inspired to join in the future — or go home and talk about it with their parents, aunts and uncles and get them involved,” he said.