By Casey Carpenter
The Sodus Fire Department voted in three new volunteer firemen trainees on Monday, January 6th.
This is especially good news for the Sodus community following the recent serious fire at the Sodus Highway Department on December 21st, which was considered a total loss.
Deputy Chief Leon Wahl and Truck Lieutenant David Gent reported that the Department had voted in Eric Williams, David Jackson, and Stephen Verstraete to begin their in-house training and receive their mandatory physicals. For these new volunteer trainees, this will mark the beginning of an extensive process that will include upwards of 192 hours of training prior to being designated as full volunteers able to provide Exterior Fire Support. Following this basic designation, they will be offered the opportunity to gain additional designations including Interior Structural Firefighter and Apparatus Operator Firefighter.
Apparatus Operator/Firefighter David Mayo explained that the increase in the regulations required for new trainees and additional designations, coupled with the lack of incentives in New York State, in his opinion has caused less young people to volunteer for their local volunteer Fire Departments. He cited that the paltry $200 annual tax credit “really doesn’t do much” to off-set the commitment of time that training to become a volunteer firefighter for your community requires. He stated that increases in these tax credits could possibly be one route to encouraging younger membership.
If you are interested in finding out more information about becoming a volunteer firefighter visit the New York State Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevention and Control at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ofpc/ or contact your local Fire Department.
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