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Greenport F.D. to host open house as part of initiative to recruit new members

The Greenport Fire Department will open its doors to potential members and their families during an open house this weekend.

Tours, demonstrations and members of the department will be available during the open house, which will be held at the Third Street firehouse Sunday, April 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as part of the RecruitNY initiative, a united effort among fire departments statewide to recruit new members.

“We’ll have trucks there to look at and applications out for anyone that’s interested,” said fire department chief Wayde Manwaring.

The open house is meant to offer insight into what volunteering with the department entails, what responsibilities include and also raise awareness about the need for new volunteers.

“If they don’t want to fight fires with a hose, there’s the ladder company, there’s the rescue squad. After fire school, they can start off in medical. Each company has different, unique things to it,” Mr. Manwaring said.

Local officials and first responders across the North Fork have all sounded the alarm about the need for volunteers as it becomes increasingly difficult to recruit young members and call volumes tick upwards.

“Call volumes have been growing each year,” Mr. Manwaring said.

Last year, the department responded to nearly 850 calls and 199 so far in 2021, 71 of which were received in March.

Of the calls received in March, the majority were ambulance and rescue calls (52), followed by auto alarm calls (15), co-detector/medevac calls (2), one motor vehicle accident or water rescue and one stand-by call.

There were 29 calls received from within the incorporated village and 42 made in the department’s east-west protection district, according to a report submitted to the Board of Trustees last week.

“We’re going to get up to that thousand-call range pretty soon, especially with people moving out this way and making the East End their home,” Mr. Manwaring said.

Greenport is hoping to add to its ranks in light of the growing year-round population.

But the biggest challenge has been attracting young people, who struggle to remain in the area due to a lack of affordable housing. “Some are working two or three jobs to make ends meet,” Mr. Manwaring said, leaving little time to volunteer.

“It’s not only Greenport, it’s the whole East End.”

For more information on the open house, contact the Greenport Fire Department at 631-477-1943.