The volunteer fire service isn’t just a calling, it’s a legacy that reaches back to the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York. In the centuries since, the volunteer fire service of the State of New York has become a community of first responders ready for any emergency. Join them and become a part of the legacy.
Time and again, over the decades and centuries, volunteer firefighters have shown incredible dedication beyond fighting fires. Their legacy in New York is one of pride and honor in communities from rural upstate to Long Island and wherever help is needed, whenever they are called.
In the face of tragedy, you’ll see the faces of volunteer firefighters. Be it emergency assistance, shelter or a simple helping hand, the volunteer fire service constantly proves its commitment to community and extraordinary skill.
Day or night, rain or snow, tragedy or even attack, it’s the volunteer fire service that humbly takes an important role.
As people ran for their lives on September 11, 2001, volunteer firefighters and EMTs flooded into the city and risked theirs.
The National Volunteer Fire Council estimated that 2,600 volunteers from 285 departments provided more than 43,700 hours of service at Ground Zero. Volunteers performed search, rescue and recovery operations, were involved in fire suppression activities, and backfilled fire stations of FDNY companies that were operating at the disaster site.
Throughout history, the volunteer fire and emergency service has been on the front lines of infamous events.
In once-in-a-generation weather like the Blizzard of 1977 in Western New York, hundreds of stranded drivers were helped from their vehicles by volunteer firefighters and put up in firehouses until the worst was over. This act of heroism and hospitality took place across the state as it was pounded by several feet of snow over the course of just a day or two.
The State has withstood numerous dangerous winter storms over the centuries and volunteers have always been an essential part of emergency assistance, especially in rural areas.
The 1993 “Storm of the Century” saw volunteer firefighters dig citizens out of homes and provide shelter as the deadly winter storm blanketed the entire State for several days. During its notorious predecessor, the Great Blizzard of 1888, firefighters braved the worst conditions in history at the time to fight fires that raged throughout New York City and rescue elevated train passengers.
State of Emergency
Of course, volunteer firefighters are on call 24/7 365 and have faced challenges in all seasons.
When floods left much of New York’s Southern Tier and Hudson Valley under water in 2006, volunteers were there to clear debris and pump water from flooded homes.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy ravaged volunteer firefighter-dependent Long Island. As volunteer firefighters faced their own challenges with powerless or flooded firehouses and homes, they also pulled neighbors from the wreckage and fought fires.
These are just a few of too-many-to-count examples of exemplary service for every call, in any situation and every day. When you become a volunteer firefighter, you honor a great tradition of being the first to respond in times of tragedy, terrorism and disaster.
When you join the volunteer firefighting family, you fight more than fires. You step up whenever and wherever help is needed.