Departments Celebrate Volunteer Firefighter Day with Open Houses

Volunteer fire houses across Connecticut opened their doors to the public, Sunday. Their goal was to recruit more members.

“We have a shortage of volunteers across the state,” says South Windsor Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Cooney.

Cooney also serves as president of the Connecticut Association of Fire Chiefs. He says, if you live in Connecticut there’s a good chance the firefighter coming to save your home is a volunteer.

“Eighty-three percent of the firefighters in Connecticut are volunteers.”

Cooney says family and career commitments are leading to a drop in volunteers at departments across the state.

During Sunday’s open houses, potential recruits got to witness demonstrations, try on gear, and ask members why they give back their time to the department.

“I love running into a fire,” says Captain Greg Roberts, who also heads up the South Windsor Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire & Life Safety Program.

Since not everyone shares Captain Greg Roberts’ feelings for running into a burning building there are other volunteer rolls as well.

Dorothy McDonald doesn’t go to any fires; she goes into the classroom to teach kids to stop, drop, and roll.

“We really feel like we’re accomplishing something when we’re teaching everybody about fire safety,” says McDonald.

When it was time for Roger Hildebrand to hang up his hose, he found another way to give back, by taking pictures at emergency calls.

“I can participate in all the activities, plus I get to go to the fires,” says Hildebrand, who serves as the volunteer department’s chief photographer.

From keeping crews hydrated at the scene as a relief volunteer, to helping with computers back at the fire house in IT, the Chief says the rolls are as varied as you would find in a business setting.

Roberts, who has served as a volunteer firefighter for a decade says it’s important that more people find ways to give back to their communities.

“So many times people don’t make the time because they say they don’t have it, but we all have it,” Roberts says.

If you weren’t able to make it out to an open house near you, you can still contact the volunteer fire house in your community to learn about signing up.

The fire houses will be open from 10-2 all across Connecticut. See the full list below:

Hartford County (alphabetical by town)

Bloomfield Center Fire Department

18 Wintonbury Avenue, Bloomfield

Broad Brook Fire Department

125 Main Street, Broad Brook

Town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS

Canton Station: 14 Canton Springs Road, Canton

Collinsville Station: 51 River Road, Canton

East Hartland Volunteer Fire Department

34 South Road, East Hartland

Warehouse Point Fire Department

Station 138: 89 Bridge Street, East Windsor

Manchester 8th District Fire Department

138 Main Street, Manchester

Newington Volunteer Fire Department

1485 Main Street, Newington

Rocky Hill Fire Department

Company 1: 739 Old Main Street, Rocky Hill

Company 2: 52 New Britain Avenue, Rocky Hill

Company 3: 3050 Main Street, Rocky Hill

Simsbury Volunteer Fire Company

Weatogue Station: 251 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury

South Windsor Fire Department

Station 3, 232 West Road, South Windsor

Suffield Fire Department

Station #1: 78 Mountain Road, Suffield

Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Department

Company 1: 171 Main Street, Wethersfield

Litchfield County (alphabetical by town)

Canaan Fire Company

4 East Main Street, Canaan

Harwinton West Side Fire Department

199 Scoville Hill Road, Harwinton

Kent Volunteer Fire Department

28 Maple Street, Kent

Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department

20 Shepard Road, Norfolk

Northville Volunteer Fire Department

359 Litchfield Road, New Milford

Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department

Station 1: 44 Pleasant Valley Road, Pleasant Valley

Winchester Volunteer Fire Department

Newfield Road, Winchester

Winsted Fire Department

Station 1: 27 Elm Street, Winsted

Middlesex County (alphabetical by town)

Cromwell Fire Department

106 Coles Road, Cromwell

Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company

406 Jackson Hill Road, Middlefield

Portland Volunteer Fire Company

595 Main Street, Portland

New Haven County (alphabetical by town)

Branford Fire Department

45 North Main Street, Branford

Guilford Fire Department

Washington Engine Company: 4 Graves Avenue, Guilford

Eagle Hose Company: 120 Whitfield Street, Guilford

North Guilford Fire Company: 3087 Durham Road, Guilford

Hamden Volunteer Fire Companies

Station 7: 905 Shepard Avenue, Hamden

Station 8: 420 Dunbar Hill Road, Hamden

Town of North Branford Fire Department

Station 1: 1531 Foxon Road, North Branford

Station 2: 1370 Middletown Avenue, North Branford

Station 3: 1958 Middletown Avenue, North Branford

North Haven Fire Department

Montowese: 282 Quinnipiac Avenue, North Haven

Northeast: 366 Washington Avenue, North Haven

West Ridge: 1331 Ridge Road, North Haven

Orange Volunteer Fire Department

Station 2: 355 Boston Post Road, Orange

Southbury Volunteer Fire Department

461 Main Street, Southbury

North Farms Volunteer Fire Department

Station #7: 864 North Farms Road, Wallingford

Allingtown Volunteer Fire Association

20 Admiral Street, West Haven

Wolcott Volunteer Fire Department

Company 1: 395 Central Avenue, Wolcott

Company 2: 58 North Street, Wolcott

New London County (alphabetical by town)

Franklin Volunteer Fire Department

5 Tyler Drive, Franklin

Old Mystic Fire Department

Station #1: 21 North Stonington Road, Mystic

East Great Plain Volunteer Fire Company

488 New London Turnpike, Norwich

Oakdale Fire Company

444 Chapel Hill Road, Oakdale

Gardner Lake Volunteer Fire Company

429 Old Colchester Road, Salem

Salem Volunteer Fire Company

Salem Station 21: 424 Hartford Road, Salem

Stonington Borough Fire Department

100 Main Street, Stonington

Taftville Volunteer Fire Department

134 Providence Street, Taftville

Cohanzie Volunteer Fire Company #5

53 Dayton Road, Waterford

Tolland County (alphabetical by town)

Ellington Volunteer Fire Department

Station 243: 6 Nutmeg Drive, Ellington

Hebron Fire Department

44 Main Street, Hebron

North Coventry Volunteer Fire Department

Station 11: 3427 Main Street, North Coventry

Somers Fire Department

400 Main Street, Somers

Tolland Fire Department

Station 240: 3 Rhodes Road, Tolland

Town of Vernon Fire Department

724 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon

Windham County

Atwood Hose Fire Company

24 Wauregan Road, Wauregan

Fairfield County

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company

92 Pocono Road, Brookfield

Easton Volunteer Fire Company

1 Center Road, Easton

Stratfield Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.

400 Jackman Avenue, Fairfield

Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.

34 Hawleyville Road, Newtown

Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Department

55 Dodgingtown Road, Newtown

West Redding Volunteer Fire Department

306 Umpawaug Road, Redding

Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Co. 1

379 Coram Avenue, Shelton

Long Ridge Fire Company

366 Old Long Ridge Road, Stamford

Turn of River Fire Department

268 Turn of River Road, Stamford

Long Hill Volunteer Fire Company

Station 1, 6315 Main Street, Trumbull

Station 2, 5400 Main Street, Trumbull

Station 3, 4229 Madison Avenue, Trumbull

Nichols Fire Department

Station 1, 100 Shelton Road, Trumbull

Station 2, 582 Booth Hill Road, Trumbull

Trumbull Volunteer Fire Company

Station 1, 860 White Plains Road, Trumbull

Station 2, 100 Daniels Farm Road, Trumbull

Weston Volunteer Fire Department

52 Norfield Road, Weston

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