Become a Part of the CFD

Become a part of the CFD

Firefighting in the United States began as a means to protect cities from the horror of burning down. In the mid- 1600’s wardens were hired to enforce city laws such as “no wooden chimneys”. The prevention of fire was the single most important means to protect citizens. Benjamin Franklin published this in 1735 “In the first Place, as an Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure, I would advise 'em to take care how they suffer living Coals in a full Shovel, to be carried out of one Room into another, or up or down Stairs, unless in a Warmingpan shut; for Scraps of Fire may fall into Chinks and make no Appearance until Midnight; when your Stairs being in Flames, you may be forced, (as I once was) to leap out of your Windows, and hazard your Necks to avoid being oven-roasted.” Even today firefighters spend a considerable portion of time related to code enforcement and public education to reduce the risk of fire and reduce fire deaths.

It is widely accepted that Ben Franklin is the father of the American Fire Service. Taking inspiration from a trip to Boston he established the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia. He encouraged other Philadelphia citizens to create companies so the city would be widely protected. Property owners were required to keep a leather bucket on premise. As the fire service matured buckets turned into hand pumped engines and over more than 200 years evolved into the modern day fire service.

Fire protection is provided by a wide range of configurations. Many cities have career firefighters, many rural communities are wholly served by volunteer staff. Other communities have a combination of both. The City of Cortland Fire Department is the only combination department in Cortland County. Using both full time career staff and volunteers who commit time to training and community service the department provides a high level of service to respond to all manner of emergency calls. Because we are a combination department we have a wide variety of opportunities for people to serve their community.

For more information, contact us here.


Fire Department Volunteers: Diverse Roles That Make a Difference

Volunteers in the City of Cortland Fire Department serve in many diverse roles, and use their talents in many aspects of fire department activities. Their commitment to serving the community is what binds the membership, which is comprised of individuals of all ages, experiences and backgrounds. However, because not everyone has a special interest in each aspect of the fire department, our structure allows folks to explore the areas that interest them most.

For more information:
Firemen's Association of the State of NY
Fire Service Women of NYS

Since the goal of the fire department is to provide for the preservation of life and property in the event of fire, all volunteer members receive basic education and training in fireground operations and safety.

From that starting point, volunteer members can follow many pathways. Those with particular interests in interior and exterior firefighting operations receive specialized training to meet department, county and state requirements. Following that training, they are mentored within the department to gain confidence in maintaining safe practices in what is inherently an unsafe environment. Interior and exterior firefighters commit to continuous training throughout their careers to maintain skills and safety standards. Volunteer members who choose this path tend to be self-motivated individuals, with strong teamwork and physical fitness interests.

Fire Investigation Team members are responsible, under the direction of the Fire Chief, for fire investigation activities within the City of Cortland Fire Department. Volunteer members who choose this pathway receive New York State mandated training in investigative techniques. Individuals participating are often interested in the complex interactions of fire and environment, as well as photography, interpersonal communications, and legal aspects of the fire service.

Still other volunteer members choose to obtain certification to work with at risk youth through the Juvenile Firesetters Program.

Fire Police personnel are responsible for the safety of personnel and apparatus at emergency scenes. Members of the Fire Police, all of whom are volunteers, vary widely in interests and are among the most active participants since many serve roles in other fire companies as well.

Auxiliary members are responsible for monitoring the hydration and nutritional status of firefighters at emergency scenes. Often they work in conjunction with emergency medical staff to keep firefighters safe on the fireground.

Fire department volunteers may also participate in many specialty areas. Confined Space Technicians enable providers to work in confined spaces with hazardous atmospheres. Hazardous Materials Technicians train to control hazardous materials such as chemical spills. Rope Rescue Technicians have several levels of certification. This can involve high angle and low angle (below grade) rope techniques.
Click here for more information.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are NYS Department of Health Certified medical professionals trained in many aspects of medical and trauma care. EMTs often chose to serve as volunteer members of the department. One way in which EMTs sometimes chose to volunteer is by becoming CPR instructors for the department’s community CPR courses. 

All members of the fire department, including our volunteers, participate in community education and public events. These events range from educating school children to open houses to programs for local businesses.

Click here to see events.

Cortland Fire Department

21 Court Street
Cortland, NY 13045

Station 2 
19 S Franklin St 
Cortland, NY 13045


In Emergencies

Call 911