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Statewide ad campaign to help recruit firefighters

(5/10/12 – Clay, NY)

A few TV commercials for a statewide advertising campaign are being produced this week in Central New York. The Firemen's Association of the State of New York, or FASNY, is using a Syracuse-based marketing agency to film two commercials. And as our Brad Vivacqua tells us, it's all in an effort to recruit more volunteer firefighters.

There are plenty of benefits to being a volunteer firefighter.

"Yes, it does take some time, yes, it does take some training, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever have," said John D'Alessandro, FASNY Volunteer Program Coordinator.

That's the message behind a new ad campaign put forward by the Firemen's Association of New York State.

"About ten years ago there were probably between 100 and 110,000 volunteer firefighters in New York State, now there's somewhere between 80 and 85,000," said D'Alessandro.

That's mainly why two commercials are being shot this week at the Clay Fire Station, using volunteer firefighters from across the state. Syracuse-based ABC Idea Based Marketing is working with FASNY to produce the ads, which will be part of a social media blitz

"In addition to the commercials that we're doing for broadcast and cable TV, they will be available online as will other videos, we're having a lot of participation from departments in the Syracuse area," said D'Alessandro.

One of those departments using volunteers for the ads is right where they're being filmed.

"The guys loved it, they were all outside hamming it up yesterday, and being actors and even at drill last night, everyone was talking about it so it's a great opportunity," said Chief Tim Dickerson, Clay Fire Department.

This ad campaign is being made possible by a $4 million federal grant awarded to FASNY last year, all in an effort to recruit more volunteer firefighters statewide.

"Just take a few minutes, go down to your local fire department, we all train once a week. You may find that those few minutes are well spent and could be a life changing moment for you," said D' Alessandro.

Firefighters Jeff Burkhardt of Oriskany and Jessie Roland-Bystrak of East Aurora, New York were selected to be the main focus of the ads. The ads are set to air statewide beginning June 4th.