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FASNY – Survey Shows Nearly 50% of NYer’s Have Interest in Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter


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The Firefighter Association of New York (FASNY) says a recent survey conducted by the organization shows 49% of New Yorkers have shown interest in becoming a volunteer firefighter and hold firefighters in high regard.

“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,” said Edward Tase, Jr, President of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) and a lifelong volunteer firefighter in Niagara County.

The survey results were revealed yesterday and provided a detailed public perception of the value and savings volunteers provide to their community, and how residents feel about volunteering themselves, FASNY said in a release.

One-thousand New Yorkers outside New York City, who were not volunteer firefighters already, took part in the survey. The survey was done between January 18th and 22nd with a margin of error of +/- 3%.

The survey showed when asked for the description of volunteer firefighters, 79% answered as “Good People,” 76% saying “Heroes” and 73% as “Strong.” An overwhelming 98% agreed “Volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services are important for the health and safety of my community” with 94% answering they “look up” to firefighters.

FASNY says the survey showed strong support for volunteer firefighting as a civic institution which saves lives and lowers taxes. Details are shown below:

  • 79% of New Yorkers surveyed said saving lives or helping people in need is the single most interesting impact of firefighting.
  • Over 80% of the New Yorkers surveyed felt the cost savings associated with the state’s volunteer firefighting forces were impactful or very impactful.
  • New York’s volunteer fire service saves taxpayers almost $4 billion annually.
  • Converting to an all-career fire service would also incur a one-tie cost of $8 billion in infrastructure and equipment costs.
  • Moving to an all-career firefighting force in NYS would raise property taxes by an average of 28%.
  • When asked about a series of skills or attributes that firefighters are better at than the average American, 65% of respondents said firefighters are better at making tough decisions. 44% said firefighters were better at fixing things and other home chores and 42% said they were better at being friends.

“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 and the ability to combine this tax credit with real property tax exemptions for volunteer emergency responders,” said FASNY President Tase.

Even with the overwhelming positive response to public opinions of volunteer firefighters, the state has seen a “significant” decrease in volunteer firefighters, FASNY says. To help increase recruitment for volunteer fire departments throughout the state, FASNY will be holding their 15th annual RecruitNY campaign this spring with a statewide open house program for the weekend of April 13th and 14th at participating departments.

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