By Jann Wiswall
Every year, as part of the Recruit NY program, the Ellicottville Volunteer Fire Department hosts an open house to educate the public about firefighting and to encourage folks to volunteer.
This year, the department is making the event extra special and it all starts at the Fire Hall (30 Fillmore Drive) on Saturday, April 23.
From 11 a.m.-4 p.m., men, women and children can learn about volunteering, take part in CPR and fire extinguisher demonstrations and pick up some fire prevention and safety tips. Kids can take a ride on a fire truck, try on some gear and snag some fun toys.
WPIG radio 95.7 will be doing a live broadcast from the fire hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will keep up the energy level with fresh country tunes. The first 20 people who arrive to the fire hall that day will receive free smoke detectors! And, for a $9 donation, you’ll be able to dine on delicious Wendel’s BBQ Chicken with all the trimmings. Proceeds from the sale of the chicken meals will go toward the purchase of training equipment.
Bonus: Everyone will have a chance to get to know the dedicated individuals who serve our community 24/7!
Glenda Jackson, an EFD volunteer and an organizer of the event, notes that while some volunteers physically fight fires, there are many others who “take on all sorts of roles you may not have even thought about — from driving trucks, directing traffic and handling hoses, to changing air tanks, distributing drinking water and restocking supplies,” she explained. “There’s a lot going on during a fire call and people are needed to help in many ways.”
If you have a budding firefighter home who is interested in the field, members of the EFD Explorer Post 652 will be on hand to provide information about this program for boys and girls ages 13-15. The Explorer Post was established last year in part to address the severe shortage of fire department volunteers, especially younger volunteers who can take the place of those who will be retiring in the next few years. Teens ages 16 and older may join the department as full-fledged members.
Sponsors for this year’s event include The City Garage, Dina’s, The Gin Mill, Madigan’s and Villaggio. Additional sponsorships are available. Contact Glenda Jackson at (716) 244-1337 for information.
If you can’t make it to the open house but are interested in learning more about joining, you’re invited to stop by the fire hall any Tuesday evening from 6:30-8 p.m. when volunteers gather for a work night. No advance notice is needed.