With membership dwindling among volunteer fire companies across the country, local fire companies have recently held open house events to help attract new members. The Springville Volunteer Fire Company and the Colden Fire Company held their open houses on April 23, showing people the fire trucks and their equipment, hosting events for kids, and providing all the information needed for people who wanted to sign up. .
The Springville Volunteer Fire Company displayed its fire trucks for people to watch, held activities for children, provided food, and helped those interested in joining the fire company. Chief Marc Gentner said that thanks to this year’s open house, the Springville Volunteer Fire Company was able to add a new member, who is going through all the preparations to get started soon. The Colden Fire Company held demonstrations for those in attendance and provided information for those wishing to join the fire company.
“We’re still looking because everybody’s running everywhere,” Gentner said.
“We have older members and what we envision is a need for volunteers to carry on and learn from older members and continue the fire service in the future,” Deputy Fire Chief 9- 2 of the Colden Fire Company, James DePasquale.
With the number of calls that have already arrived this year, local fire companies need new members in many positions, including firefighters, EMS, firefighters, auxiliaries and more. Gentner and DePasquale said there are fire company jobs for everyone and they urge people to consider joining in whatever capacity they are able to provide.
“We had over 800 calls last year and we’ve already had 300 this year since January,” Gentner said. “You can either go to the EMS side, you can do the fire side, or you can do both sides… and we can use firefighters, pump operators. Anything you can offer is great. There is something to do for everyone.
From being able to help fellow firefighters to participating in the service’s many functions and having the camaraderie of other firefighters, Gentner and DePasquale said there are many benefits for people looking to help their local fire department.
“It’s a lot of camaraderie, basically an extended family. We all help each other, we get together, and you make a lot of friendships,” Gentner said. “There are a lot of benefits.”
“The biggest thing you get from joining the fire department is that sense of satisfaction knowing you’re helping residents,” DePasquale said. “When you have kids coming to see you at school and you know you’re a firefighter or you get a letter from a family thanking us for coming to take care of what they needed, that’s self-satisfaction which is the biggest aspect in my eyes.”
While local fire departments are always in need of new members, Gentner and DePasquale thanked the many volunteers who continue to help within the fire company and continue to help their community.
“To all the members we already have, I really appreciate the time and effort they put in. We have a great group of guys and girls and we would love to have as many people as possible,” Gentner said.
“We have several members who have been around for many years and they have impacted the community in many different ways. We go out if there’s a basement flood, we go out if there are downed wires, fires, EMS calls and all hours of the day,” DePasquale said. “Our older members…they’ve seen all the changes in the fire service and they’re the people we learn from the most.”
Those interested in joining the Springville Fire Company can stop by the fire station Monday nights at 7 p.m. to see what’s going on in the department or they can contact Gentner or one of the deputy chiefs. Those interested in joining the Colden Fire Company can drop by the fire station Monday nights at 7 p.m. or contact Jim Walter at 716-462-3945.
Residents of local communities are asked to contact their local fire companies if they wish to become a member, including East Concord Fire Department, Mortons Corners Volunteer Fire Department, Volunteer Hose Company of West Valley, Chaffee-Sardinia Voluntary Fire Society, Collins Fire Center. Company, Collins Fire Company, East Otto Fire Company, Patchin Fire Company, and the Boston Volunteer Fire Department