Rockville Centre Fire Department uses grant to seek new volunteers

The Rockville Centre Fire Department's Engine Company No.

The Rockville Centre Fire Department's Engine Company No. 1 firehouse located on the corner of Maple Avenue and Morris Avenue on March 12, 2014. Photo Credit: Tara Conry

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The Rockville Centre Fire Department is looking for a few good volunteers to add to its 348 firefighters.

In 2012, the fire department received a four-year federal grant for $865,225 to help attract 80 new volunteers and provide incentives for specialty training. Since then, the department has added 36 new members.

The village's fire department is one of the largest all-volunteer departments in the state.

"The Rockville Centre Fire Department has over 100 years of tradition and service with an unwavering commitment to all who live in and around our Village," Mayor Francis X. Murray, a 40-year member of Rescue 1, said in a news release. "This program allows that tradition to grow and flourish into the future."

The recruitment and retention program is funded through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program, administered through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Administration's Assistance to Firefighters grant program.

The grant also covers tuition reimbursement for fire department members attending college, physicals for new members, and personal protective gear that includes a helmet, bunker gear (coats and pants), a protective hood, gloves and boots. Each new member also receives station gear, including work shirts, work pants, hats and work boots.

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"I can't stress how important volunteerism is," Chief John Thorp said in the release.

Residents can stop by any of the department's five firehouses on a Sunday morning, or call 516-678-9320 for information on becoming a firefighter, fire medic or a junior firefighter.

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