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New survey reveals New Yorkers’ perceptions of volunteer firefighters and recruitment potential

March 8, 2024

The Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) has joined forces with other state fire associations to initiate the RecruitNY 2024 campaign.

This statewide firefighter recruitment drive was launched alongside a survey revealing New York State residents’ views on volunteer firefighters.

The survey not only sheds light on the public’s perception of the value and savings these volunteers bring to their communities but also their inclination towards volunteering.

During a press conference at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center in Uniondale, NY, the survey results were unveiled.

Edward Tase, Jr, President of FASNY, commented: “This survey has provided FASNY and the entire volunteer fire service with very valuable insights into what New Yorkers think and know about their volunteer fire service.

We are very excited to see that almost half of the New Yorkers surveyed have expressed some or even strong interest in becoming a volunteer firefighter.

Now it is our job to continue reaching out to these people and help them take the next step in joining our ranks.”

Survey highlights the respect and support for volunteer firefighters in New York

The survey, conducted with 1,000 non-volunteer New Yorkers outside New York City, offers intriguing insights.

Respondents overwhelmingly described volunteer firefighters as “good people” (79%), “heroes”(76%), and “strong” (73%).

A striking 98% agreed that volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services are essential for the health and safety of their community, with 94% expressing admiration for firefighters.

In addition to acknowledging the heroic nature of firefighters, respondents recognized the practical impact of volunteer firefighting.

79% cited saving lives and helping those in need as the most compelling aspect of firefighting.

Over 80% recognized the cost savings associated with the state’s volunteer firefighting forces as impactful.

New York’s volunteer fire service provides nearly $4 billion in annual savings to taxpayers, and shifting to an all-career fire service would not only require a one-time investment of $8 billion but could also increase property taxes by an average of 28%.

FASNY’s continued efforts and future recruitment strategies

The survey revealed that 49% of New Yorkers are interested in becoming volunteer firefighters.

FASNY President Tase emphasized the organization’s commitment to legislative support and recognition for volunteer firefighters: “We will continue to work with the Legislature and the Governor on programs that acknowledge the service of our volunteers, including our push for an increase to the income tax credit for volunteer firefighters and EMS providers.”

To enhance their recruitment and retention programs, FASNY is leveraging these key findings.

The survey indicated that 66% of respondents would visit their local fire station for more information, and 55% would use Google search.

Friends, colleagues, news sources, and social media were also noted as significant channels for gaining knowledge about volunteer firefighting.

FASNY’s 15th RecruitNY campaign, supported by Lincoln Financial, will culminate in a statewide open house program on April 13 and 14.

More information can be found at RecruitNY.org.

“We would like to thank our friends at Lincoln Financial for their continued support of the RecruitNY program,” stated FASNY President Tase.

FSJA Comment

The recent survey conducted by the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) reveals a considerable level of respect and potential for volunteer firefighter recruitment in New York State.

This survey underscores the importance of volunteer firefighters in community safety and cost savings.

As FASNY gears up for its RecruitNY 2024 campaign, the insights gained from this survey will be crucial in shaping their strategies to attract new volunteers.

With almost half of the respondents showing interest in volunteering, FASNY’s efforts could significantly impact the future of firefighting in New York.

This campaign represents a vital step in addressing the ongoing challenge of declining volunteer numbers, which has been a concern for the past two decades.

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