Lake George firefighters are like a ‘second family’

Members of the Lake George Fire Department pose for a photograph prior to a recent meeting of the organization.

Members of the Lake George Fire Department pose for a photograph prior to a recent meeting of the organization. Photo by Thom Randall.

— The Lake George Volunteer Fire Department has a historic commitment to protecting the lives and property of area residents and visitors, and new personnel has been joining the team recently to carry on the tradition, the agency’s officers have said.

Fire Department President Barbara McKinney McGuirk said the skilled firefighting team has about a dozen new members that have been undergoing intensive training.

“Our ranks are strong, and we’ve got new ‘young blood,’ she said. “But we’re always looking for more volunteers.”

In recent years, the department’s membership proved its remarkable expertise — in dousing a blaze that threatened a major downtown block and responding to Tropical Storm Irene, the worst flooding event here in many decades.

This last year, the department responded to several substantial residential fires, again proving its ongoing readiness to protect the security of area citizens, McGuirk said. The agency responds to about 300 calls per year.

“Our fire department has a grand tradition, and it’s important to bring youth into the agency, keep them active, encourage their training and ensure they are involved,” she said.

The key to recruiting and retaining new members, is to nurture the department’s tradition of camaraderie — and members helping each other in time of need, she said.

“In our agency, we’ve developed a ‘second-family” relationship,” she said, noting that the new younger members are readily adopting the spirit. “We’re there for each other, whenever anything is needed — helping other members move, plowing a driveway, preparing a meal, or cutting wood for those members who have particular needs.”

The new firefighters are also are adopting the agency’s longstanding tradition of giving back to the community, she said, by working on fire department projects, whether its sponsoring the organization’s annual Lake George Family Festival or working on the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association convention and parade — the largest of its kind in the Northeast.

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