NY makes first round of payments to firefighters in training stipend program

Posted 22 June 2024 at 8:25 am

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office

 Governor Kathy Hochul announced New York’s new $10 million Volunteer Firefighter Training Stipend program has paid out its first $140,250 to a total of 105 students from more than 50 fire departments statewide. Click here to see the initial payments.

Initially included as part of the FY24 Enacted Budget, the program seeks to strengthen the volunteer fire service by offsetting the costs of required trainings, making it easier for new recruits to join volunteer fire departments and help protect their communities.

“Volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line each day out of a selfless dedication to serving and protecting our communities,” Governor Hochul said. “These investments affirm our commitment to their service, and to the vital role they play in keeping New Yorkers safe.”

Approximately nine million New Yorkers, nearly half of the state’s population, are served by volunteer firefighters. Yet in recent years, more than 75 percent of these departments have reported a decrease in the number of individuals willing to volunteer and serve. This is further compounded by the increased operational responsibilities beyond fire protection to include vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, hazardous material spills, and weather-related rescue operations. At the same time, calls for service have increased 29 percent from 1997 to 2020.

As part of Governor Hochul’s effort to strengthen and stabilize the state’s volunteer fire service, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) will administer the stipend to volunteer firefighters for completion of the following training courses completed on or after August 31, 2023.

Additionally, a local fire training stipend may be authorized for the completion of any OFPC training course or equivalents, as determined by OFPC, up to $500.

Stipends are for first time course completions of the listed OFPC course or equivalency as determined by OFPC. Students must be a member of good standing as determined by their department and stipend applications are submitted by the fire chief.

Additional information on the stipend program can be found by clicking here.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “Volunteer firefighters provide a critical service in so many New York communities that do not have a full-time paid department. Training should not be a barrier to those who want to serve. Governor Hochul created this stipend program to help offset the personal costs of training for those who give so much of themselves to protect the public and keep us safe across New York State.”