BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Do you have what it takes to become a volunteer firefighter? That’s the big question.

“It’s our obligation to our town, our obligation to ourselves,” said Rocky Hill Fire Chief Michael Garrahy of Rocky Hill.

Departments from across the state met Friday morning at the Branford Fire Department. Everyone in attendance has one goal in mind — increasing their ranks.

“The numbers have dropped dramatically in the past ten years by 11% because of the time commitment,” said Fred Dudek, with the CT Fire Chiefs Association.

A federal grant worth $1.12 million is helping departments with recruitment, training and other expenses. This is the third phase of what’s called “Everyday Hero CT.” During the second phase, the hope was to hire 150 new firefighters statewide. In the end, it was nearly 400 so meetings like the one held Friday morning are working.

“You network with other fire departments, you find out best practices, what’s working and you find out what’s available to you and you’re not alone,” said Garrahy.

Some of the qualifications to become a volunteer firefighter include:

  • Being at least 18 years old.
  • Physically fit
  • Able to go through several hundred hours worth recruit training

“Additionally to that, we would look for people to do administrative functions, such as retired CPA’s, IT people who can assist the fire department everyday,” said Dudek.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, or for more information, visit the Everyday Hero CT website.