Tours, information available to public
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
By inviting the public in, Philipstown fire departments hope to send new recruits out when they open firehouse doors the weekend of April 27-28 for Recruit NY Statewide Open House 2013, an annual effort to encourage New Yorkers to become volunteer firefighters.
As of noon on April 17, 480 fire departments, including three in Philipstown, had either signed up on the statewide list or declared their intent to join in NY Recruit, sponsored by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. “Let’s work together to reverse the recent decline in volunteers by educating and drawing in more members, and show the public just what it means to be a volunteer,” FAS urged in promoting this year’s Recruit NY. “The alarm has sounded.”
The Garrison Volunteer Fire Company (GVFC), North Highlands Engine Co. 1 (also known as the North Highlands Fire Department) in the North Highlands Fire District, and Cold Spring Fire Company No. 1 announced they would take part. Meanwhile, the Continental Village Fire Department was looking at various recruitment options.
The North Highlands Engine Company will kick off the local weekend of activities on Saturday, April 27. Members intend to greet visitors, provide tours, and host a general open house at their station, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 504 Fishkill Road, near the intersection of Fishkill Road and Route 9, Chief Joseph Hyatt told Philipstown.info.
The GVFC invited other community groups to “join us and bring information about your organization,” to its event, Sunday, April 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the main firehouse (station 2), 1616 Route 9, in Garrison.
On Sunday, April 28, the Cold Spring Fire Company will be staffed and will welcome the public and answer questions at the firehouse, located at Main and Church Streets, in the village of Cold Spring. “Our members are here on any weekend with the truck doors open and a welcoming attitude towards the public,” but the recruit day provides an opportunity to reach out on a more formal basis as part of a statewide program, Chief Matthew Steltz explained. The chief said he also will stop by the GVFC in a show of support for its activities that day.
The FAS said the annual initiative “coincides with National Volunteer Week and unites departments from every corner of the state with the sole mission of bringing in new recruits.”
At their April 4 monthly meeting, Philipstown Town Board members backed the idea. “This will show what your firehouses are about,” board member Nancy Montgomery said when GVFC President Betsy Calhoun described Recruit NY. Montgomery expressed optimism the weekend would help local fire companies “get some new members. We’re going to reach a critical state here if we don’t get some.”