New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick announced that their bill, A7752/S07021, was signed into law by Governor Cuomo and is now Chapter 385 of the 2021/2022 State laws. The new legislation takes effect immediately.
State law requires that the percentage of non-resident fire department members not exceed forty-five percent of the membership. This bill allows the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department to be exempt from this requirement.
The small size of the Village of Briarcliff Manor limits the community’s potential pool of firefighters. To that end, Briarcliff Manor has struggled to recruit enough firefighters from within the Village to adequately meet the needs of their fire department. This legislation creates the opportunity for those residing outside the Village to volunteer with the Briarcliff Fire Department, preventing the community from having to rely on a paid firefighting force.
Before the new legislation was introduced, Assemblywoman Galef reached out to neighboring fire companies to make sure that they would support this legislation since most nearby departments are themselves seeking volunteers. Fire companies in the area were indeed in agreement on the importance of the bill and presented the legislators with memorandums of support.
“It is so important that we ensure the safety of our communities, and part of that is making sure our fire departments have access to the personnel they need in order to do their best work. The Village of Briarcliff Manor faced a very common problem with the small size of their village which limited the pool of potential firefighters for their fire department,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “This common-sense legislation passed that will help to fully equip the Briarcliff Fire Department with the volunteers the community relies on for its safety.”
Senator Reichlin-Melnick said, “Volunteer firefighters are some of the bravest members of our community, and when a volunteer firefighting company comes to us with a problem created by state law, we have a duty to step up and help them however we can. This change in state law for Briarcliff Manor will allow the fire department to recruit the people they need to ensure that residents of the village will have a fully-staffed team of firefighters to respond in an emergency situation.”
“As a former Captain of the Scarborough Engine Company I can affirm that this legislation will be invaluable to keep our volunteer Fire Department properly staffed and able to serve the Village’s needs,” said Briarcliff Mayor Steven Vescio.
“Every one of the Department’s fire houses is in close proximity to property that is not located in the Village, but staffing those fire houses only with Village residents, and not with eager and qualified volunteers who reside outside the Village but close to the fire houses, impact the Department’s ability to serve the greater community,” said Fire Chief Vincent Caruso.