By Allison Collins
UNADILLA – The Unadilla and Wells Bridge fire departments teamed up to host the village’s inaugural downtown Recruit NY event Saturday, with roughly 60 people attending. Unadilla’s was one of many Recruit NY events hosted by fire departments statewide.
First Assistant Chief Jeremy Hilton said Recruit NY “serves two purposes.”
“We’re recruiting (volunteer firefighters), but also reaching the public for fire safety,” he said. “We’re teaching kids who to call and making sure people know what to do in a fire, but we’re also trying to get more members.” Plans for the event, he said, got underway “a month or two” in advance.
Recruit NY, held in the lot at the corner of Main and Depot streets, offered attendees the chance to get a close-up look at fire trucks and firefighting equipment, with some youngsters even trying on turn-out gear.
Grease fire and car-cutting demonstrations proved crowd favorites, Hilton said.
“We all came up with what to do,” he said, “but we did the grease fire (demonstration) at the elementary school a couple of years ago and that was a big hit there.”
In addition to familiarizing firefighting, Hilton said, Recruit NY allows new department members to hone their skills in a non-emergency setting.
“They get the chance to try out the equipment and the tools, so it makes for a good training,” he said. “It’s kind of beneficial in more ways than one.”
About six members of the Wells Bridge department and 10 from Unadilla’s participated in the event. The latter has between 20 and 30 active members.
Unadilla Fire Captain Jeffrey Jones said, with two recruits signed up before the event’s close, Recruit NY proved a success.
“It’s been pretty good and pretty steady,” he said. “A lot of people are liking that we’re here in town, because some people still don’t know where the firehouse is. We brought it to them.”
Jones added: “We’re already planning on expanding and doing (Recruit NY) again next year.”
For more information or to become a volunteer firefighter, call the Unadilla department at 369-9150 or stop by the firehouse 77 Clifton St., Mondays at 7 p.m. Additionally, find “Unadilla Fire Department” on Facebook.