Blasdell Elementary School students could win a ride to school in a fire engine, and their parents could win a free hall rental at an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Blasdell Volunteer Fire Department, 121 Miriam Ave.
It’s part of the fifth annual RecruitNY, an effort to increase the ranks of volunteer firefighters throughout the state.
There were 110,000 firefighters in the state in the 1980s, said Robert Leonard, a spokesman for the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. The numbers stayed steady through the 1990s, and there was a small surge after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. But then the number dropped off.
“By 2010, we were down to 84,000 volunteer fire fighters,” said Leonard, who also belongs to the Syosset Volunteer Fire Company.
That number has climbed to 96,500, he said.
Fire companies throughout New York will be taking part in this weekend’s RecruitNY by holding open houses, showing off equipment, offering safety tips and sponsoring other activities to call on more volunteers to join the ranks of fire companies.