Brewster Fire Department seeks new recruiting class

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The Brewster Fire Department is entirely dependent on volunteers like Javier Duque. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

If you’ve ever thought that you’d like to contribute to your community in a meaningful way, the Brewster Fire Department wants you to know that there’s a place for you in their organization. The Department is holding a summer recruiting drive for its next class of volunteer firefighters and EMTs.

“You don’t have to have any prior experience,” says Lieutenant Kevin Durmer of the Brewster Fire Department. “You have people from all walks of life: lawyers, doctors, career firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, police officers, construction workers. You just have to be in somewhat good physical condition.”

Equipment sits ready at the Brewster Fire Department. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Career experience aside, what the Department does tend to attract are energetic go-getters. “We typically we want that go-getter mentality because it is a taxing job,” says Durmer. “We train just as hard as a career department would.”

Volunteer firefighters and EMTs do not receive monetary payments but they do receive benefits through New York State and the New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association, along the lines of a pension system. Volunteers with a certain number of years of service are awarded with a pension after age 65. Other benefits include a tax credit and tuition assistance.

The Department’s Summer Probationary Program offers an on-ramp for volunteers to receive proper training and prep work ahead of the mandatory state training a volunteer firefighter or EMT is required to complete. The Department hosts a formal orientation day for probationary members, followed by a day of presentations that familiarize volunteers with Brewster’s emergency services operations.

Vehicles and equipment are stationed inside the Brewster Fire Department garage. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

A typical probationary class has between 10-20 members. The group first reviews basic operations and skills in advance of taking the New York State firefighter I or EMT course. Over the course of about six months, probationary members progress through the state program and its accompanying coursework. The length of classes vary depending on the level certification a volunteer is pursuing. Firefighter I and EMT courses typically span three to four months, Durmer says.

Once volunteers complete the required coursework and testing and are fully onboarded, they join the other volunteer members in completing weekly work details, such as apparatus checks and basic house duties. The group typically meets two to four times each month for drills and department-level training. When an emergency call comes in, members respond to the firehouse to crew the apparatus.

“Most people don't understand that we're 100% volunteer,” says Durmer. “It's neighbors helping neighbors. If no one volunteers, there's no help. Many hands make light work."

Brewster Fire Lieutenant Kevin Durmer. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

The Brewster Fire Department is accepting volunteers age 16 and up through July. The summer probationary class will begin in August. Potential recruits can email join@brewsterfiredepartment.org for more information.

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