Nassau debuts new site to recruit more volunteer firefighters
Nassau County unveiled a new website Monday to recruit new volunteer firefighters.
The site provides information on the requirements, training and benefits of joining the ranks.
According to Nassau's 2022 census, there are around 6,000 volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers. That number is down from 10,000 two decades ago.
"We have a population of 1.4 million so you can see the disconnect there and you can see the large well of people that we hope to get assistance from to building our ranks, to make these 71 volunteer fire departments sustain themselves and be able to bring help, cut down response time," says Nassau County Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro.
The county recently passed a bill to expand property tax relief to volunteer responders with two years of service instead of five years. The incentive is to encourage future volunteers.
Lenny Cherson, vice chair of the Nassau County Fire Commission, says it's a good start, but recruitment is still difficult.
"People are working longer and harder to make ends meet and they don't have the time to volunteer," Cherson says.
He also says it takes more time to become a volunteer.
Cherson says those who want to volunteer are required to train at the Nassau County Fire Service Academy from Monday through Saturday for two weeks.