(Windsor Locks, CT)- The Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, in partnership with the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association, would like to remind everyone that National Volunteer Week began on April 12, 2015. First proclaimed by President Nixon in 1974, National Volunteer Week aims to recognize and celebrate the dedicated service of the millions of Americans who contribute their own time and resources to help make the lives of their fellow citizens a little bit better. Perhaps one
of the greatest examples of this selfless dedication to helping others is found in the hundreds of thousands of Americans who serve their communities as volunteer firefighters.


   Nearly three quarters of all fire departments in the United States are staffed solely by volunteers. In
fact, most American communities are protected entirely by volunteer firefighters. These men and women answer calls for help from their fellow citizens at all hours of the night, rain or shine, 365 days a year. They dedicate countless hours away from home and their families to responding to alarms as well as to training. No matter the time of day, nor the time of year, whether it be Thanksgiving Day or New Year’s Eve, chances are that if you dial 911, it’s a volunteer firefighter who will answer your call for help.


   However, despite an ever-growing need, the number of volunteer firefighters in America has actually decreased by more than 10% since 1984. Along with increased training requirements and
additional responsibilities, today’s smaller volunteer fire service finds itself extended like at no other time in its history.


   Not only must today’s volunteer firefighters fight fires; they are also tasked with responding to
auto and industrial accidents, hazmat releases, emergency-medical incidents and the same homeland-security issues that concern America’s major cities. Further, volunteer firefighters must do so while holding down their fulltime jobs.


   Now, more than ever, local volunteer fire departments need help from their fellow citizens in the form of new members to lessen the burden on those who already serve. Thanks to funding provided
by FEMA, the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA), in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has launched an initiative, the Every Day Hero Recruitment Campaign, to spread the word that departments throughout the state are looking for local heroes to join their ranks and give something of themselves to their communities.


   In Connecticut, 83% of firefighters are volunteers. The lack of personnel to respond to
ever-increasing call volumes is the #1 issue facing volunteer fire departments. Your local department needs volunteers of all types with various skills.


   Whether you can serve as a structural firefighter, an EMS provider or a member who aids in the myriad administrative tasks that accompany fire department operations, your local organization can use your help.


   Being a volunteer is a rewarding experience and one of the best ways you can make a difference in your community. The skills and experience gained as a volunteer firefighter are invaluable and will have a positive and lasting effect on your life and the lives of those around you. Be a local everyday hero: if you have what it takes, you can make a difference by joining today.


   To learn more about becoming a firefighter and joining your local volunteer fire department, please visitEverydayHeroCT.org, call 1-800-FIRE-LINE or stop into your local firehouse and ask how you can help protect your community.


   The Connecticut Fire Academy is the teaching arm of the Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, a Division of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.  Their mission is to serve as the primary source of education and training for Connecticut firefighters.