Captiol News from The Assembly Minority Conference
The Assembly Minority Conference

Volunteer Firefighters Make Incredible Sacrifices For Their Communities

Legislative Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

The past few years have been challenging for all New Yorkers, but through all the uncertainty, our state’s first responders, including our volunteer firefighters, showed up every day to serve their communities. This weekend, fire departments across the state will open their doors to engage with the communities they serve in the hopes of growing membership.

RecruitNY, a statewide initiative aimed at recruiting volunteer firefighters and highlighting everything these brave men and women do to keep their friends and families safe, will take place Saturday, April 23 through Sunday, April 24 at hundreds of fire houses throughout New York.

During the two-day event, I encourage those interested in serving their communities and answering the call of duty to stop by their local fire company to speak with these dedicated local heroes. No previous firefighting experience? No problem. According to the Fire Association of the State of New York, the majority of volunteer firefighters join with no prior experience; the fire department and local training centers provide all the necessary training.

In my district, there are a number of local fire departments participating this weekend. A comprehensive county-by-county list of participating fire companies is available here. Even if firefighting isn’t for you, there are a number of other opportunities to volunteer or simply consider stopping by just to say “thank you” to your local first responders. We are forever in their debt, and they deserve our gratitude and respect. 

As elected officials, my colleagues and I have a responsibility to protect the interests of our volunteer firefighters and provide them with the tools they need to successfully do their jobs. I am proud to support several pieces of legislation that safeguard and promote our fire personnel, including:

  • A.3783, which establishes the New York state volunteer fire protection emergency reimbursement account and provides reimbursement for expenses incurred related to procurement of personal protective equipment and other expenses;
  • A.5793, which enacts the “omnibus emergency services volunteer incentive act” to provide benefits to volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers as part of an incentive program;
  • A.3681, which creates a wage tax credit for employers who employ New York National Guard men and women, reservists, volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel; and
  • A.9608, which makes it a Class B felony to shoot a gun at a peace officer, police officer, corrections officer, firefighter or emergency medical services professional.

I extend my deepest thanks to all the emergency service personnel who risk their well-being for their fellow New Yorkers. Their selfless service and bravery makes our state safer because of the work they do each day.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at