Nyberg: How you can help the volunteer firefighters in your community

On-Air

We always expect volunteer firefighters to be there for us, but what if they weren’t?

There are 26,000 volunteer firefighters in Connecticut among the more than 300 fire departments. That’s 83 percent.

Recruiting for these everyday heroes is crucial and is underway year-round as many towns are reaching critical lows in their departments.

“Three quarters of the nation;s first responders are volunteers. That includes here in Connecticut. And, lately, it’s been harder than ever with fewer citizens volunteering from teenage cadets like me to seasoned veterans like me,” a voice over said in a video. “So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to make a difference? Ready to join our team? Your community needs you. We need you. Visit everydayheroct.org or stop by your local firehouse today and take the first step of joining your fire department.”

“Stop by your local fire station, generally on a Monday or a Wednesday, and sometimes five days a week in the evenings, there’s firefighters there,” explained former Killingworth Fire Chief Fred Dudek. “Volunteer firefighters doing something. Stop by, talk to them, see the equipment, ask them about questions during alarms. They may be in your neighborhood. Watch what happens and know that there are other things to do besides fighting fire. You could cook, you could do maintenance on apparatus. You could do IT work, IT work’s a big one.”

Dudek has spent 45 years as a volunteer firefighter and he’s still on the job.

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