Coronavirus impact on volunteer fire departments

Coronavirus

Volunteer departments rely most on fundraisers that are now postponed or cancelled

WHITESBORO, NY (WUTR-TV) — Local businesses aren’t the only places that are facing a financial crisis during the coronavirus pandemic. Volunteer fire departments are facing new challenges as they continue to adjust the way they operate.

Volunteer fire departments depend most on their fundraisers. Whether it’s holding fish fry dinners or chicken BBQ’s, all those events are either postponed or cancelled. The Whitesboro Volunteer Fire Department holds several of those events a year, including their annual Door To Door fundraiser (that would be held this time of the year,) but now that’s postponed until early Fall. “…that event allows the department to get the proper training supplies and it goes toward their fire prevention program,” says Jerry LuBuis, President of the Whitesboro Fire Dept. The department receives other funding through the town and village, but those funds are mainly for apparatus and the building.

The department continues to follow the NY PAUSE recommendations, keeping community members and volunteers safe. “We tried to limit the amount of people in our station at one time…after we get back from calls, we clean, disinfect, we sanitize everything and then we leave the station and we don’t come back until the very next call,” says LuBuis. The station continues to train virtually and carry out incident responses in a professional manner.

The Whitesboro Fire Department currently has 48 members, including both active and civil members. Recruitment is an ongoing process, the station is always looking for more volunteers. Potential members can go to the department’s website for more details.

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