Many of us will be positively affected by a firefighter in our lives. From saving the family cat that is stuck in a tree, to storming in to a blazing inferno to save the life of a total stranger.
I canít say enough about the bravery and dedication that it takes to be a volunteer firefighter. They risk their lives daily to save people that they do not know, and homes and businesses that they may have never been in. And they do this not for a paycheck, but out of the kindness of their own hearts.
Growing up, I experienced first-hand the time that is required for members of each local fire department to prepare to protect their communities. My father was a firefighter, and this helped me to develop a strong respect for the sacrifice that these brave men and women make for others.
Recently, my colleagues and I voted to proclaim May 8-12 as Professional Firefighters Association Week in the State of New York. This week is designated to honor the professional firefighters in New York and those that have made the ultimate sacrifice, while protecting the lives and property of others.
Many kids grow up with dreams of fighting fires, and that dream can easily become a reality. To qualify for employment as a career firefighter, an individual must meet residence requirements and apply for a civil service test. They then must pass a physical test and finally successfully complete basic firefighter training and department requirements. For more information, go to http://www.dos.state.ny.us/fire/firehowto.html or call your Civil Service or Fire Department for complete details of requirements and procedures.
Those with other jobs and careers can still make a huge difference. Volunteering at your local fire department is a selfless way to spend your time. To become a volunteer firefighter, you must meet the active membership requirements or bylaws of the organization, and successfully complete required probation or training needs. For more information, you can call your local Fire coordinator. That information can be found at http://www.dos.state.ny.us/fire/cfcountylist.htm or call (518) 474-6746.
Both paid and volunteer firefighters receive incentives for their duty. Besides the training and social/organizational benefits, volunteers receive injury compensation as well as retirement incentives in many departments.
Becoming a firefighter can be one of the most rewarding decisions a person can make. The respect you will earn from your community members goes without saying, and I assure you that the selfless giving of yourself is one of the best feelings in this world. For more information, you can always reach my staff or me at (518) 455-5772 in Albany, or (315) 781-2030 in Geneva.