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WNY fire departments face volunteer shortages

Many volunteer fire departments in Western New York are concerned about a shortage of volunteers.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Fire departments in Western New York are concerned about the possibility of a shortage of volunteer firefighters. 

On Friday there was a fire in Cheektowaga that highlighted that concern many volunteer fire departments are facing. 

Brian Gould, the recruitment and retention coordinator at the Bellevue Fire District in Cheektowaga, said they've seen a decline in volunteer numbers for years. 

"That's something that we as a community need to make sure we come together and fill those roles," Gould said.

The department recently received a FEMA grant to boost recruitment but said the pandemic and concerns over how involved volunteering can be are some of the reasons new recruits are reluctant.

"Because, you know, when you don't have enough people working at a fast-food restaurant, you still find a way to eat well, when there's not enough people working on the ambulance company, or enough people coming to the house on a fire call. You know, we have to make sure that we keep those roles filled," Gould said. 

Gould said to head to your local volunteer firehouse to learn more about volunteering or if you're in the Cheektowaga area visit Join Cheektowaga Fire online by clicking here.