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Friday, December 3, 2021

An Interest Session for Hook & Ladder:
Wyoming gauging interest in youth FD

The Wyoming Hook & Ladder Co. Inc. is trying to get a group together that it once had — a youth fire department. As part of that, Hook & Ladder will have a special information meeting Saturday. Students in the Wyoming Fire District ages 14 to 18 and their parents are invited to attend the session, which will start at 10 a.m. at the fire hall, 26 Maple St.

“This is all very important to our communities. If we can get young people to join (a volunteer fire department), everybody’s so much the better,” said Dick Crandall, Hook & Ladder president. “Drive by any fire department anyplace in New York and there will be a sign out saying ‘We’re looking for new members.’ This is another (opportunity),” he said of having a youth department.

Crandall said there are students of that age range who have to have their parents’ authorization to join a youth department.

“We’ve invited all of them, parents and students, to come in, talk to us,” he said. “Some other fire departments in the area have youth departments, where they can’t answer emergency calls or anything like that, but they can learn what it is to be a fireman. It’s a whole learning process. We treat them like firemen. We give them turnout gear. They get to learn everything except response to an actual emergency.”

Crandall said Saturday morning’s meeting will probably be a short one. As for what the 14- to 18-year-olds can learn, he said there’s a lot — practical skills they would learn in a youth fire department that they can bring with them to a job.

“We have volunteer firemen who, in their paid jobs, are a truck driver or a mechanic,” he noted. “That’s what many of these students will learn, will pick up. It can also be related to first responders — health-related skills. We have a young member right now who’s now in college because she was an EMT and is now going further with her health care (studies).

“You’ll find that some of our people end up being paid firefighters, too. I know of at least one person who is working for the Batavia City Fire Department,” Crandall said. Wyoming Hook & Ladder is looking for young people who want to supplement their education and possibly join the department, he said.

“Our present chief (Ryan Morgan) was, at one time, a member of the (Hook & Ladder) Youth Fire Department,” Crandall said. “All those skills are with him. He’s not the only one. A lot of his skills came from being in the Youth Fire Department.”
By BRIAN QUINN - bquinn@batavianews.com

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