Volunteer firefighters in New York save taxpayers an estimated $4.7 billion a year with their services, a report released Monday by the Firefighters Association of the State of New York found. 

The report highlights the economic impact of the state's 80,000 volunteer firefighters in the state and the effect they have on saving tax dollars at the local and state level. 

“This report underscores the importance and value of the volunteer firefighting service to New York,” said FASNY President Edward Tase, Jr. “Without the dedication and service of the brave volunteers throughout the state, local taxpayers would face a significant financial burden to fund the type of emergency response they are accustomed to. Our volunteer firefighters train extensively to be able to respond to their neighbors in a time of need, and we are proud to do our part to keep this great State safe and taxpayer costs for fire protection low.”

The report comes as volunteer fire organizations around the state have sought to boost recruitment and retention through a variety of methods, including measures to provide tax breaks to people who become volunteer firefighters or join first responder companies. 

The report found volunteers provide the work of 31,058 full-time firefighters, who would have to be hired if volunteers went away. More than 93% of the state's 1,640 fire departments are composed of volunteer staff. 

There is also the tax effect volunteers have: local government property taxes would have to rise by nearly a third absent volunteer firefighters and there would be billions of dollars in costs for governments to obtain equipment and vehicles.

“Volunteer firefighters exemplify the best of New York: courage, service, and sacrifice. Not only do volunteer firefighters save lives and protect property, but they also save millions of dollars of taxpayer money that can be put to use serving their communities in countless other capacities," New York State Association of Counties President Michael E. Zurlo said. "The report released by FASNY highlights the critical need for the State of New York to invest in the volunteer fire community to ensure New Yorkers have access to reliable and effective fire service and that our communities continue to benefit from the dedication and generosity of these brave men and women.”