Your community needs you now more than ever. Become a Hicksville volunteer firefighter or part of the EMS service today.
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our strength, and our front-line workers, medical professionals and essential workers continue to demonstrate bravery and resilience in the face of an unprecedented challenge.
I want to extend my own personal thanks to our 100,000+ firefighters and EMS volunteers in New York, and the 800,000+ across the United States. Every single one of you has been put to the test and have passed with flying colors. However, there are still ongoing limitations that all these volunteers still have had to deal with during the crisis.
Recruitment is the single biggest issue in recent years for the volunteer fire department and EMS service. The number of volunteers continues to rapidly decrease every year, due to increased training requirements and call volume. As the departments continue to struggle in keeping up with service demands, volunteer firefighters put in extra hours and effort to continue serving their neighbors and communities.
If volunteer fire departments and EMS services were to disappear, the lives of many in our communities would be at risk. Unfortunately, this is slowly becoming a reality. Politicians are looking to reopen the economy, but they must also save our volunteer fire and rescue services as they do so.
On Long Island, at the start of the pandemic, volunteers immediately stepped up knowing that the COVID-19 response would be unlike any others in the past, and lives were at a higher risk than ever. In addition, the need to protect these brave volunteers as they performed life-saving work was just as important as members needing to do more to protect their communities. EMS and COVID-related alarms and calls greatly increased from March through late May, but like other turbulent times, volunteer firefighters and EMS responders have risen to the occasion and provide critical services. The importance of volunteers has risen drastically, and in the event of future pandemics or other emergencies, volunteer services need to be increased as well.
Honor. Loyalty. Dedication. These are the cornerstones of volunteer fire departments and EMS services.
Your community needs you NOW. Consider giving back, when your community needs you the most. Please contact the Emergency Company at 516-933-6445, ext. 305, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EMERGENCYCOMPANY5/.
With sincere appreciation and hope for our future,
Karl M Schweitzer
The writer is a former Fire Chief and current Captain of Emergency Company 5, where he has volunteered as a 3rd generation firefighter for almost 39 years