Any department member can request our Free Starter Kit to receive everything their department needs to get started. Or for additional help you can use our convenient contact form and we can answer any questions you have, give you more details on what it takes to get into the competition, and give you info to provide your department leadership.
For brand new departments, we will pair you with another drill team currently competing. They will help get you on the track, and answer any questions you might have while you get started.
Drill Teams competing in ground events can get on the track with a few hundred dollars. Drill teams across the state have loaner equipment ready to get you going.
Teams will have 6-8 events to compete in throughout the summer. As the schedule is released, you can see the specific dates. Most teams also practice at least once a week. We can also help you put together a practice course, or get you lined up with a location to practice.
Departments are always merging with another local department to field a full team. Even one or two interested members are welcome.
Absolutely. Send us a message (click here), and we'll get you information you need to get started, as well as contacts for your chiefs and commissioners to reach out and get their questions answered.
Departments with junior drill teams universally agree that these programs are terrific recruitment tools, and deliver the most motivated members to their department when they become of age. Getting started is the same, send us a message and we will get you in touch with the directors from junior programs in your area.
In most instances, drill teams are wholly or partially funded through a very small percentage of fire district or protection budget. Districts and departments should have every confidence that responsible, prudent drill team spending is an appropriate budget item and not a waste of taxpayer dollars. Competitive activities are funded by governments at the town and county level as well. Public funding supports middle and high school sports programs, as well as town and county recreational programs, which usually include competitive sports. These are worthy expenditures because of the opportunities they afford the general population, but few have the added benefit of skill enhancement and team building for their local firefighters.
Auditors across the state recognize that drill team spending is a legitimate recruitment and retention expenditure, and we encourage departments and districts to support their drill team with modest spending, matching the benefit they believe their department can derive from the team.

Drill team expenditures are not precluded by NYS law as long as the governing body is realizing sufficient benefits to justify these expenditures.
Yes, New York State Volunteer Firemen's Benefit Law names drill team tournaments as a covered fire department activity.

According to Section 5 of the Volunteer Firemen's Benefit Law:
The duties and activities in relation to which benefits shall be paid and provided pursuant to this chapter are:

Subsection i. While…practicing for, or participating as a contestant or an official in, any competitive tournament, contest or public exhibition conducted for firefighters which is intended to promote the efficiency of the fire department, fire company or any unit thereof, including necessary travel directly connected therewith other than travel to and returning from such practice.

Importantly, other competitive events are excluded: subsection m. While…working in connection with a fund raising activity of his fire company…including necessary travel directly connected therewith, as well as necessary travel to and necessary travel returning from such activity, but shall not include competitive events in which volunteer firemen are competitors, such as baseball, basketball, football, bowling, tugs of war, water-ball fights, donkey baseball, boxing, wrestling, contests between bands or drum corps, or other competitive events in which volunteer firemen are competitors and which involve physical exertion on the part of the competitors.

Read more at:'_benefit_law_section_5

In recent years, the NYS Drill Team Association has implemented significant changes to equipment to ensure that our members can continue to compete with minimal risk. Like firefighting as a whole, we acknowledge that the competition is not without the possibility of danger, but the benefits outlined above outweigh those risks. For motorized competition, our apparatus is inspected by DOT certified mechanics throughout the competition season, as well as a painstaking inspection at the start of the year. Like the rest of the fire service, we strive to learn lessons from any 'close calls', and we continue to push our teams to compete with maximum safety.
If your department has never competed in drill team competition, we recommend considering an OF Division (Old-Fashioned) competition team. We can pair your department with another local department that currently competes, so you have a partner to answer all your questions as you start out. Miller Place Fire Department have been NYS Old-Fashioned champions twice in the past five years, and they started their drill team only seven years ago!
NFPA 1901 is the standard for automotive fire apparatus which has established the best practice that recommends members to be transported in an enclosed cab. Section 1.3.1 states that the standard applies to new fire apparatus "that have 10,000lb or greater gross vehicle weight rating", and "that are designed for use under emergency conditions".

The B and C class competition vehicles are not used for emergency responses, and operate at a GVWR of significantly under 10,000 lbs. A best practices standard has been developed by the New York State Volunteer Firemen's Parade and Drill Team Captains Association (NYSVFP+DTCA), which covers the requirements to maintain maximum safety on these apparatus. The NYSVFP+DTCA is continually striving to increase safety for our members, while maintaining the 100 year tradition of FD drill team competition.

Our Mission

NYS Drill Teams is a professional league of volunteer firefighters from across NY State who compete in firematic competitions. These competitions are geared towards honing basic firefighting proficiencies, developing and fostering teamwork, character-building, commitment, discipline, physical fitness and conditioning. Participation in the league complements each fire department's primary function of emergency response to fires, medical emergencies, and other calamities, while instilling members with a life-long commitment to serving their community as highly skilled volunteer firefighters.

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