A new task force in New York is looking at the challenges in recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

The Firefighters Association of the State of New York applauds the steps toward policy changes that will help community fire companies.

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FASNY President John Farrell says there has been an alarming decrease in volunteer firefighters in the state, a problem that has been highlighted by the ongoing pandemic and the unusual hurricane season.

 Farrell says those events shine a light on the crucial role that volunteer first responders play on the front lines of local and state emergencies.

The new task force is to be made up of members of the fire service, the Executive branch, the legislature and state agencies.

The group is scheduled to meet through 2021 and compile a report with recommendation on new programs, incentives and policy changes that could increase volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention.