Recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters is always a challenge for local fire departments, but federal aid is on the way to help with that.

According to federal lawmakers, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) will be receiving $1.7 million from the Homeland Security’s SAFER program.

John D’Alessandro of FASNY says a bulk of the money will go toward a statewide mass media outreach campaign to let the public know they need more volunteer firefighters.

“Unfortunately over the last decade or two, we’ve gone from about 110,000 volunteer firefighters in New York to somewhere around 80,000 and 85,000. At the same time, the demands put on the volunteer fire departments and the scope and complexity of their mission has gone up,” said FASNY Secretary D'Alessandro. 

D’Alessandro says these efforts will go on for four years, which is the length of the grant.