Broome County Executive Jason Garnar signed his first executive order of his tenure Friday in an effort to better respond to emergencies.

Garnar’s order will allow county employees who also actively volunteer as firefighters or paramedics to answer calls while at work.

He signed the order at West Corners Volunteer Fire Department where one of his administrative assistants is a volunteer.

Employees would be required to use vacation, holiday or comp time, or the time would be unpaid.

West Corners Fire Chief Neal Haight says it’s getting harder to find people available to help.

“Volunteer numbers have been declining in the volunteer fire service for a number of years.  The most difficult time we have in the volunteer fire service for responders is during the daytime, weekday response hours.  That’s when everybody is at their full-time job, don’t have a lot of leniency to leave,” said Haight.

Department heads will also need to approve an employees eligibility for the leave.

Saturday, many volunteer fire companies in Broome will participate in a recruitment day from noon to 3 p.m.

For a list of departments and more information, go to