NEW YORK — It has been a long and arduous journey for a New York firefighter who started volunteering when she was seven.
The New York Fire Department (NYFD) recently announced that it is adding volunteers to its volunteer workforce in an effort to attract more people to the profession.
“It’s an investment in the future of our community,” Deputy Chief John DiLorenzo told the Times.
This announcement came as a surprise to firefighters and firefighters’ advocates.
While the FDNY initially had not announced its intentions to add volunteer firefighters to its roster, they have been slowly rolling out the program.
It is the first time a major fire service has added volunteers.
A new program for firefighters to join the ranks of volunteers will come into effect on July 1, according to the NYFD.
As of January 31, there are about 20,000 firefighters who are currently employed by the FDN.
The agency says it needs more volunteers to support its growing staffing needs.
More than 1,200 of the more than 1.2 million people who were previously on the FDJ roster were volunteers by the end of 2017.
NYFD Chief of Staff Robert Delaplane told the New York Daily News that the FDJA program will help the agency meet the need for new volunteers.
The NYFD also plans to increase the number of volunteers from 10 to 12, depending on the demand, to make sure the organization can fulfill its new mandate.
According to the New Yorkers Firefighters Union, there is a need for at least 1,000 new firefighters to replace firefighters who have retired and were reassigned to non-firefighting jobs.
However, the NYFIU says that the number will increase if the FDSA is successful in getting the Department of Homeland Security to provide a new funding stream to support new hires.