Sunday, November 13, 2005

Volunteer Fire Departments on Long Island

Newsday is starting a series of reports on the volunteer fire departments here on Long Island. This is sure to open a can of worms but this type of local reporting is what Newsday does best. The fire departments are cherished and act as more than just a fire department, they are also am important social network. It is good to know you have neighbors who will come to your aid when you need them, and vice versa. Long Island is supposed to be the largest area covered almost exclusively by volunteer firemen. Many of the volunteers work for pay in the NYC fire departments. The system works well, but there are some growing questions about the budgets and ability of the departments to handle things compared to how we would do with paid firefighters. Nobody here wants to say we should get rid of the volunteer system as it is too much a hallmark of Long Island, and the volunteers are great people. I would hope Long Island can create a paid system, perhaps one for each county, but still maintain a large system of volunteers. As any Long Islander can testify, the volunteer firefighters here are some of the best men and women you will meet.

One thing I read in the article that I have also heard in the Knights of Columbus is the difference between the older volunteers and the younger volunteers. The older people ask what can I do for this community, and the younger ask what can this do for me.

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