GENEVA — With many volunteer fire departments struggling to find new members, the topic of this year’s Geneva Fire Department winter seminar is timely.

“Shorthanded Firefighting” is the title of the seminar, which runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Smith Opera House. The keynote speakers will be Bob LaGrow from the Fire Department of New York and Mike Healy from the Rockland County Fire Training Center.

“Almost every fire department today is dealing with manpower issues,” said Geneva FD Assistant Chief Kevin Powers, the longtime organizer of the seminar. “It’s not a big problem for us, but it is for small departments and even paid departments in some cities.”

The event annually draws numerous firefighters from the Finger Lakes area, including local departments in Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. Firefighters also come from other parts of the state, including many from the Rochester and Syracuse areas.

The event is part of the New York Association of Fire Chiefs’ mini-seminar program. Powers said LaGrow and Healy spoke at the 2013 Geneva seminar.

Saturday’s event will focus on manpower issues in today’s fire service.

“This seminar, every year, brings hundreds of firefighters from all around our region to Geneva and we are thrilled to be hosting this program again this year. These seminars bring people from fire services in nine surrounding counties,” Powers said. “This kind of continued learning is what keeps us all up to date on new strategies and tactics, but also it allows us to come together around a common topic that leads to new partnerships even after the annual seminar.”

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $20 per person, and pre-registration is requested by Friday.

For more information or to register, contact Powers at (315) 521-8350 (cell phone) or at the Nester Hose Company of the Geneva Fire Department at (315) 789-6966.

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