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How do I join? 

The first step is to fill out an application.

Are there any benefits to be had (other than the satisfaction of volunteering) as an active member? 

The Cottekill Volunteer Fire Company, Cottekill Fire District, and New York State offer many benefits. To see a complete list, click Benefits

I work full-time, can I still volunteer? Is the training when I can attend? 

Many of our volunteers work full time jobs or attend school. There are certain minimum training requirements, with many opportunities to attend. We do not mandate attendance at every training.

I am older so I do not want to go into an active fire. Is there anything else I can do other than be a social member? I want to work with the active firefighters. 

There are many tasks that need to be completed at an emergency scene.

  1. Drivers
  2. Scene Support
  3. Medical Care
  4. Rehab
  5. Traffic Control
Where would I get trained to be a firefighter? 

For initial basic training, within Ulster County at a local firehouse or the county training center. For ongoing refresher training, right here at the Cottekill firehouse.

Do I have to buy my own gear? 

No. All protective equipment is provided by the Cottekill Fire District at no cost to the member.​

How physically fit does one have to be to be a firefighter/first responder? 

This depends on the position you are applying for. Those wishing to be interior firefighters (the ones that run into burning buildings) need to be physically fit to be able to carry heavy equipment and bring victims out of a burning building. There are many other tasks required at an emergency scene that do not require that level of strength. We can find a fit for everyone in our organization.

I see a lot of things going on at Cottekill Firehouse. What is the time commitment? 

Again this depends on the position you are applying for.

  1. Initial basic training is 79 hours where you will be attending one or two 3 hour classes per week.
  2. To advance to an interior firefighters there is an additional 49 hours broken up in the same way.
  3. Ongoing company training & activities, we require
    1. Response to 10% of alarms (we average 100 calls a year)
    2. Three 2 hour drills per quarter
    3. 6 of 12 monthly business meetings
    4. 12 hours of miscellaneous activities
  4. Social membership requires
    1. Attendance at 6 of the 12 monthly business meetings
    2. 24 hours of miscellaneous activities
What are the different types of jobs of your firefighters that distinguishes them from each other? 

We have positions of active and associate (social) membership

  1. Active
    1. Interior Firefighter
    2. Exterior Firefighter
    3. Driver Operator
    4. Emergency Medical Provider
    5. Fire Police (crowd and traffic control)
How old does a person have to be to join? 

We have different categories with different age ranges

  1. Youth Participant – 14 & 15 years of age
  2. Age Restricted Active Member – 16 & 17 years of age
  3. Active member – 18+
Is there a maximum age to join? 

No, as long as you are physically able to meet the medical requirements for the position you are applying for, your application will be considered. Also keep in mind that while you may not meet the medical/physical criteria to be an interior firefighter, you may meet the criteria to serve as an exterior firefighter, driver, fire police, EMS provider or fill an important support role.

I don't have insurance, what if I get injured on a call or even during training? 

As a volunteer firefighter in New York State, you are considered an employee of the fire district and would be covered under Workers Compensation per the NYS Volunteer Firefighters Benefit Law

As an active member would I have to do duty shifts at the fire house? 

No, but duty shifts are an option for those who feel it would fit their schedule. We have activities every Wednesday, but you are not required to be at every activity.

The fire department responds to all kinds of emergencies, often including medical calls. They are out in the community during all these responses and I have concerns about exposure to COVID-19. What steps do local fire departments take to protect their members from the virus? Fire departments across the state have developed local plans to do all they can to protect their members’ health and safety while operating at emergency calls of all types during this global pandemic. 

The Cottekill Fire District provides members with virus-related PPE for those encountering COVID-positive or potential COVID-positive individuals. The fire company has also developed cleaning protocols and programs for our equipment, apparatus and facility, including PPE and social distance guidelines for use by volunteers responding to calls or in the fire station for training or other essential duties.

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