Thursday, July 06, 2023

Monsey Fire Department Recruits Jewish Volunteers

Like many volunteer fire departments around the country, the Monsey Volunteer Fire Department in Rockland County needed a lifeline.

“We were struggling a few years ago,” says spokesman Aaron Lerer, a veteran firefighter. “We knew we had to get creative to attract and keep new members.”

The biggest challenge: working around the restriction that doesn’t allow firefighters who have beards to go inside buildings. Facial hair can prevent air supply masks from properly sealing. Lerer says they started an external firefighting program that allows the volunteers to perform every task except inside entry. The members are increasingly reflective of the community where the number of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews is skyrocketing. Monsey now has more members than ever before; seven are external firefighters.

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