NORWICH – As part of New York State's RecruitNY campaign, the City of Norwich's Fire Department held an open house over the weekend, and five individuals expressed interest in becoming volunteer firefighters.
The event was from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the City of Norwich Fire Department.
According to Norwich Fire Department Chief Jan Papelino, four individuals expressed interest and are beginning the process of becoming volunteers, and one individual has already finished their paperwork and turned it in.
"Considering the weather, getting even a single person to sign-up at the event was a success," said Papelino. "To have five people possibly signing up is incredible, and we're very grateful for everyone who came out to learn more."
He said it's hard for fire departments to convince people to sign up as a volunteer as the basic training requirement can take approximately 70 hours to complete. He added that career and volunteer staff did a variety of activities with individuals who were interested in the fire service on Saturday including fire house work, rescue tools reviewal, and fire truck tours.
"Volunteerism is down and events like these allow us to actively reach out to individuals who want to help their community," said Papelino. "I don't think there's a department in Chenango County who couldn't use more volunteers right now, everyone is hurting for members."