Why should you be a Volunteer?

Currently there are just over 50 members in the Union Fire Company, this membership is comprised of several different levels, Active, Active-Life, In-Active Life, and Honorary, the nucleus of our day-to-day operations in answering alarms is dependant, for the most part, on the first of these four groups, Active Firefighters. The last three levels of membership is attained through years of service with the department, still many of these members play an important role in our operations in different capacities, relying on this influx of new firefighters to be on call and answer the sometimes daily EMS, Fire, and or Rescue calls. Over the past few years the number of new recruits into the fire service have suffered drastically, both on a local and national level. Different reasons can be cited for this decline, from the ever changing active lifestyles of today’s young men and woman, an increase in young people leaving the area in search of career opportunities, and possibly an understanding of the true nature of volunteering and it’s benefits.

The firefighters of Union Fire Company come from every part of our fire district and from every walk of life. They are office workers, construction workers, nurses, police officers, computer technicians, sales people, managers and students... just to mention a few. They are your neighbors.... men and women just like you who, for one reason or another took the initiative to submit an application and became a volunteer firefighter. These individuals have come to reap the rewards and unparallel feelings of accomplishment that volunteering has to offer, were glad they did and respect and reward them for their commitments, it’s our hopes that others, like yourself, will follow in the footsteps of these courage’s people and join the ranks of firefighters at Union who serve their neighbors and community, one can only wonder “What if nobody came” when an emergency arouse? Thanks to the folks that took the challenge and joined to help others the “What if” isn’t a reality, but we need to rely on others, like yourself, to come forth and serve their community.

There are many reasons to become a volunteer. Some of those reasons will differ between individuals, while others remain constant! For nearly everyone, the number one reason is simply the desire to help others in their greatest moments of need. Firefighters and EMS personnel are trained and skilled to respond to all kinds of emergencies from heart attacks to structure fires and there is no greater feeling than when those skills are used to save a life or someone's home. For others there may be a need to be part of the community and to get involved. The fire department is very involved in the community. We not only respond to emergencies but, we provide fire prevention education through our schools, churches, scouting organizations and fire prevention open-houses, we have provided CPR and first aid training to community groups and business’s. For a young person embarking into adult life, it might be the excitement that draws them, but they will soon find that membership provides them with a sense of pride and direction. Perhaps it will even lead them to a career in one of many related fields. Our members continuously strive to improve their skills and to advance our Department's ability to respond to emergencies. Membership has its privileges too... by joining you will become part of an organization that has a great deal of pride in itself and its accomplishments. You will also become part of a large social network where members become more like an extended family than co-workers. There is no doubt that as a member, you will meet many new people and make new friends.

Age Requirements
Applicants must be over 18 years of age.

Cost & Expenses
For the most part, either the Union Fire Company or West Seneca Fire District # 2 covers all of your expenses. The District will provide you with the gear and equipment necessary to perform your duties as a volunteer. Most of the training that you will receive is either paid for or supplemented by Erie County. The Fire District will pay for approved costs above this, such as for Emergency Medical Technician training or other outside courses. The Union Fire Company also provides for many of the items not paid for by the District, such as social and departmental sponsored activities, dress uniforms, and more. Members do incur the cost of fuel in respond to the fire hall and the cost of items that they elect to purchase above those that are provided, such as extra fire department shirt or jacket. Most of these items, including the cost of fuel are tax deductible.

All training will be provided at no cost to you.

Educational Requirements
There are no specific educational requirements, however, if a prospective member is still attending high school they are required to maintain their grades until they graduate.

Generally, applicants must live or own a business within West Seneca Fire District # 2.

Women in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services
There are many women in the fire and emergency services and the Union Fire Company is no exception. Women are an essential part of our Department, both in EMS and firefighting capacities.

Time commitment
Your probationary period will be the hardest! This is generally the first year. You will be required to attend a formal training program provided by Erie County. Firefighters will attend a Firefighter level I training program and EMS program. During your probationary period, you will also be required to attend a certain percentage of in-house drills, trainings, meetings and alarm responses. These requirements are at their highest level during the probationary period and first five years of membership, but are gradually reduced with seniority.

The benefits of being a volunteer are many. First and foremost is the self-satisfaction that you will get out of helping others in time of their greatest need. This is a partial list of both monetary and non-monetary benefits. They are in no particular order.

- Self-esteem & personal growth

- Community involvement

- Potential Career Avenue

- Training & education in fire fighting, first aid, CPR, rescue and many other related aspects

- Comrade and Social activities

- Service Award Program (similar to a pension program)

- Membership at an area Health Club facility

- Medical, indemnity and life insurance benefits for line of duty injuries

- County tax reductions

Application Process

· Upon receipt of your application for membership you will be contacted to schedule a screening interview. During the screening interview you will learn more about the application process and what will be expected of you once you join. You will also have the opportunity to ask any additional questions that you may have.

· Following the screening interview the Department will request an arson police background check, as is required by AnchorNew York State law.

· Your application then will be announced at our next regular meeting.

· As soon as all the above steps have been completed the Department Screening Committee will present your application to the general membership to be voted upon.

· If accepted by the Department members you will be provided with instructions on where to go for your Department Physical. This is paid for by West Seneca Fire District # 2.

· As soon as we receive confirmation that you have passed your physical you will directed by the Chief of the Department when to attend for assignment of turnout gear, key, and pager. You will further be directed as to when the next scheduled training session will be held and be given directions to follow in answering alarms as a probationary member.

Congratulations, you are now a probationary member of the Department!

For More Information
The Department trains on Wednesday Evenings and you will generally find someone at the firehouse, 1845 Union Road near Seneca Creek Rd, between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM. just stop in and someone will be happy to show you around and answer your questions. You may also email your questions at this Email Address or call the station at 668-2828 and ask to speak to an officer.

How To Apply
The easiest way is to fill out our on-line membership inquiry form, and someone will contact you about arranging to get an application. You can also download and print an Application for Membership if you have access to a printer, pick up an application at the station, or Email us and we will mail one to you. Applications can be dropped off at the station or mailed to: Union Fire Company, Recruitment, 2055 Union Road, West Seneca, NY 14224.

Applicants are required to attend and complete the Firefighter Level I Training program. The classes are given continuously throughout the county and there is no charge to the applicant. Applicants must complete this program within their probationary period. Transferring firefighters who have already completed this program will not be required to retake it. In addition to this external training, probationary firefighters are required to attend a percentage of drills per month (more is suggested). The Department drills every Wednesday Evening at 7:00 P.M. except for holidays and in other special circumstances. Other specially scheduled drills are also scheduled throughout the year. Since our company handles EMS, Fire, and Rescue Calls, all firefighters are trained for and respond to all types of emergencies and perform all of the tasks required. Firefighters are classified into two categories, Interior and Exterior. The difference between the two categories is that there are certain restrictions placed on exterior firefighters. In order to maintain interior firefighter status, members must pass a physical, receive respirator usage clearance and complete a series of required annual drills.

EMS / Ambulance Personnel
You also will be required to attend and complete EMS training consisting of either an Emergency Medical Technician or Certified First responder course during their probationary period. In-house EMS, Firefighter, and rescue training and continuing education are conducted throughout the entire year.