One of New Canaan’s most vital and widely recognized community organizations is putting out a call for new members.
In recent years, a handful of firefighters with the New Canaan Fire Company No. 1 have been hired on as full-time paid members of the New Canaan Fire Department—a testament to the strong relationship between the two entities, though it’s left the volunteer fire service short of its target numbers, officials say.
Those who have joined the New Canaan Fire Company in recent years say it offers truly meaningful involvement in the community as well as fun, camaraderie and education.
Firefighter Steven Kryger joined in November 2020 and has been able to serve as an active volunteer with the organization though he has a full-time job.
“Virtually all of our members are full-time students or have full-time jobs—it’s very doable,” Kryger told NewCanaanite.com. “We kind of make it so members of the community can be huge contributors and it fits in with their lives.”
The Fire Company holds drills and meetings on Thursday nights, and there’s an additional one day of training per month (on Tuesdays) during a probationary period for the first year while volunteers are becoming certified as licensed and trained firefighters.
“Calls can come in any time,” Kryger said. “The expectation is that volunteers make about five to 10 calls per month, and as many of the big important calls as they can with structure fires being the most important. And it’s very doable even for people who have packed professional and personal lives. So when I learned that, it was very reassuring for me. And the other thing is how meaningful it is to me. It really feels like a community of people to support you and lift you up and help you be your best. It feels like about as meaningful a volunteer opportunity as I could imagine, particularly as a new parson moving to town. I didn’t really know a lot of people. Since COVID, there are probably a lot of people in my shoes.”
The fire service would like to see about 30 to 35 active members, and right now has about one dozen truly active men and women who show up to most calls, according to New Canaan Fire Company President Rob Mallozzi. He acknowledged the career staff foregathers “who are stepping up big time, along with our senior members, to help train our newest members.”
In addition to the benefits cited by Kryger, volunteer firefighters receive a $2,000 tax credit, Mallozzi said, as well as passes to the Transfer Station and Steve Benko Pool at Waveny.
Firefighter Oliver Dennis called the New Canaan Fire Company one year ago “one of the best decisions I have made.”
“I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into when I joined, but once I rode out on our ladder truck for the first time I was hooked,” Dennis said in an email. “My experience since I became a member has truly been amazing and was pleasantly surprised with how involved I could be in a short amount of time. The firefighters on both the career and volunteer side are really great to be around and I have learned so much from them over the past year.”