RYE, N.Y. On a downcast rainy Sunday afternoon, nearly 10 people showed up at the Rye Fire Department recruiting drive. Capt. Richard Cadigan, the recruitment coordinator, said the department is never full even though it has had a good influx of young guys recently.
Were always looking to add to it, because peoples situations change they move out of town, they start a family, you never know, said Cadigan, a 12-year veteran of the recruiting drive. You always need more people. Youre never full, because you could always use an extra pair of boots on the ground.
The event, which was mandated by the New York State Firefighters Association, was meant to find people who would like to become firefighters. Cadigan said its not a big number and the trick is always to try and find them.
The department, which has been around since 1875, has 16 full-time firefighters and about 40 really active volunteers. The department goes on about 1,000 calls a year, said new Chief Mike Taylor, a 21-year volunteer.
Cadigan said he is looking for people who can emulate the hard-core volunteers at the Rye Fire Department.
Of that, Id say maybe 25 are hard-core, the Rye resident said of the volunteers. On true emergencies and fire, these guys know what theyre doing, they feel confident. Theyre going to throw a pack on, drop a tool, grab a hose. Theyre going to go in there and start making conditions better and thats who were always looking for, the next guy that can do that.
One of the people who showed up at the recruiting drive, 22-year-old Andrew Dapolite, said he has always been interested in getting involved" at the Fire Department.
Ive always been around a lot of these guys, said Dapolite, a lifelong Rye resident. I know Chief Taylor and former Chief Hogdon very well. So they always give me a hard time about not joining. I finally thought Id come back in and check it out. I think its a great service to the community.
Dapolite said he used to be an EMT and just let that expire in order to join the Fire Department.
I guess this is sort of replacing that part of my life, he said. I know the community very well, so I look forward to volunteering in this capacity as well.
Dapolite will undergo about 96 hours of training in a two-month class to learn the basics before joining the tight-knit and welcoming group at the Rye Fire Department, Cadigan said.
The training is admittedly kind of front-end loaded, Cadigan said. Its a pretty much heavy-duty upfront commitment. Its supposed to introduce you to all aspects of firefighting, but its just the beginning.
Training is ongoing. Were always looking for the next guy to add to the core group of guys that we have now. On any emergency scene, the most important thing to make it safe not only for the citizens, but for us as well, is the amount of boots on the ground. You cant put a price on that.
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