SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — April 22 marks the start of 14th Annual RecruitNY Open House program. The event runs statewide for the weekend in hopes to recruit volunteer firefighters. At the Schonowe Fire Department, firefighters gave the community a closer look at their station. From big rigs to fundraisers, there’s a lot of ways to get involved with good causes.

Chief of the Schonowe Volunteer Fire Company, Chris Ganiga, says the fire department has lost a significant amount of volunteers in recent years. “As time goes on and people are getting older, it’s hard to maintain the volunteers that we have today. Our numbers used to be about 65 to 70. Right now we are at 22,” explained Ganiga.

Fire departments across the state have seen a decline in volunteers. According to the Firefighters Association of the State of New York, there is around 80,000 volunteers in the state compared to 120,000 from years past. Ganiga hopes to increase the size of his crew, one step at a time. “Maybe a dozen people came out here today. Turnout came out very well but, all we can do is try,” described Ganiga.

Fire departments are not just looking for people to put out fires, but a variety of on scene help. “We’re looking to fill everything. From interior firefighters, to wildland firefighters, to rehab, EMS, EMT, and various functions here,” stated Ganiga.

Even when there is no threat of danger, members of the auxiliary step up for the community. “Through our fundraisers, we’ve been able to do donations to three different local school districts,” said Stacy McGraw-Sada, President of the Auxiliary of the Schonowe Volunteer Fire Company.

When it comes to fire departments, members say they volunteer to become closer with their community. “Anybody who wants to join, it’s a brotherhood, it’s a sisterhood. You make a lot of good friends,” described Joanne Sylvester, Secretary of the Auxiliary of the Schonowe Volunteer Fire Company. For anyone interested in learning more about their local fire department, visit to find what time the event will take place.