Jeffery Daday is the new chief of the Croton Falls Fire Department

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Jeffery Daday, third from left, became the new chief of the Croton Falls Fire Department on Jan 1, 2023. Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

Jeffery Daday has been a volunteer firefighter for almost 30 years, but this New Year’s Day he stepped into a new role as chief of the Croton Falls Fire Department. The position is a dream come true for Daday, who has served as 1st assistant chief since 2019 and whose father previously served as chief in the 1980s.

“I wanted to lead. I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps,” said Daday, who first joined the department when he was 16 years old. Daday recalled the sense of pride he felt as a child watching his father come down the street in town parades, leading the procession of CFFD vehicles.

Daday replaces outgoing chief Sean Partenio, who will remain a member of the department’s all-volunteer crew. “It’s been a lot of fun,” Partenio said of his time as chief.

Daday is one of approximately 60 active CFFD members. For Daday, the term ‘active’ is quite literal - he responds to approximately 40% of the calls that come into the department each year. In 2020, he responded to 273 calls. In 2021, that number was closer to 300.

As chief, Daday is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the CFFD, including call response, reporting, staying on top of equipment and gear and providing ongoing training for all members.

“Being a firefighter for 27 years, I’ve seen it go from where there weren’t a lot of rules and regulations and policy to the stuff that we have to do now to make sure that we’re progressing as we should,” Daday said, adding that he’s committed to making sure that the department is moving forward every day.

“The hardest thing is trying to get new members,” he said. “We can always use volunteers.” Daday acknowledged how difficult it can be for community members to fit volunteering into their lives. “Lots of people are working two to three jobs, and/or both adults in a household are working. It’s tough in today’s world,” he said.

Still, those who live in North Salem are dependent on volunteers to answer the call when emergencies happen. Daday noted that the town’s emergency crews are the ones who see community members during their worst moments. “We see emergencies all the time; they don’t. The one time they experience an emergency, we try to be comforting and to assure them that they’ll get through this. One of my favorite parts of this job is being able to help the community and to put a smile back on their face when it’s not such a great day.”

CFFD chief Jeff Daday at the annual Croton Falls Fire Department inspection/installation dinner in May, 2022. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

The Croton Falls Fire Department is one of more than 1,700 volunteer departments across New York state. The bonds formed through this work–in Croton Falls and with the neighboring departments that supply mutual aid–are what keep Daday coming back call after call, year after year.

“We always say we’re a family, the CFFD, North Salem Police and North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps.,” Daday said. “If at any point in time we needed something, they will be there. My family is this department and all of the first responders.”


If you're interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with the Croton Falls Fire Department, visit their website or email info@crotonfallsfire.com.

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