Monthly Archives: January 2012

Safety Precautions for Heating Systems & Residential Stoves

stoveSafety Precautions for Heating Systems

General Precautions: No matter what method is used to heat a home, you must ensure that your heating system is safe. This means regular maintenance, keeping hot areas free of clutter, and burning the right fuel.

Chimney Fires: Dry, seasoned wood is critical to avoiding chimney fires. A wood stove fire needs to be kept burning hot to allow the creosote in its smoke to exit the chimney before cooling below 212°F, which causes creosote to build up in the chimney. Allowing a wood stove to burn too hot can lead to a chimney fire if there is creosote buildup in the chimney. Although many chimney fires burn up the creosote and then go out, there is a good chance that a chimney fire will ignite wood in walls and rafters. It can also damage the chimney by causing the lining or bricks to crack or shift.

Fumes: Wood and coal stoves are vented through chimneys because burning wood and coal creates people-killing poisonous fumes. In modern, high efficiency stoves, the smoke is minimal if the stove is burned properly. It is advisable to check for loose flue pipe joints and cracks in the chimney that will allow the poisonous gasses to enter a house.

Safety Precautions for Residential Stoves

  • Always have a working CO alarm when using a stove.
  • Make sure your coal or wood stove has a flue pipe fastened tightly together with at least 3 sheet metal screws at each joint (count yours!) and a clean, gas tight chimney.
  • If burning oil-coated coal, be sure to have the proper type of stove.
  • If burning wood, always use well-seasoned, dry wood.
  • Keep children away from hot surfaces.
  • Never leave children unattended in a room with a burning stove.
  • Keep tripping hazards away from stoves.
  • Keep combustibles like drapes and furniture away from stoves.
  • Check for proper installation of the chimney connector through a combustible wall.
  • Inspect chimney connectors for creosote buildup.
  • Haul ashes outdoors in a metal can or hopper, always keeping the ash container far from the house.

Firefighters Aid with Nighttime Water Rescues in Manheim

img156On September 7 Tropical Storm Lee dumped 15 inches of rain on Elizabethtown. There was so much water that their local fire company could no longer handle all of the calls. The Hand-in-Hand Fire Company assisted in pumping out homes during the evening.

Then at 2 a.m. on September 8 a call for help with nighttime water rescues came from Manheim, which was dealing with swollen creeks. Hand-in-Hand firefighters who had water rescue training were sent to answer that call. Driving through two feet of water on Main Street, the squad rescued stranded people off of their front porches. Other fire companies with boats worked the streets that had water five feet deep. From 5-7 am Manheim was completely surrounded by water and all roads were closed.

The Hand-in-Hand firefighters stayed into the afternoon of the next day to pump out homes in Manheim and East Petersburg. In one neighborhood firefighters stood beside residents as they watched pumped-out basements fill up with water again. The hours were long and the work exhausting. As one firefighter testified, “We just did it. We just kept right on going.” Several from Bird-in-Hand only had five hours of sleep in a 40-hour block of time. At the end of three days the Fire Company had given 284 manhours to the flood effort.

Thankfully in the Bird-in-Hand vicinity there were only several closed roads in low-lying areas. As rain continued to fall, the creeks receded and then rose again. Some of the roads had to be closed twice.


Dear Fire Company, What’s Your Name?

We are officially chartered as the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company No.1


On September 3, 1896 a devastating fire swept the village of Bird-in-Hand. The townspeople formed a bucket brigade and stood shoulder-to-shoulder, handed buckets of water down the row, and were able to save all but 12 buildings in the town. When a determined group of men met to organize fire protection for the town in 1910, Secretary Levi Herr suggested the Hand-in-Hand name as a take-off of the town’s name.

This name traditionally carries much meaning for the people in our community. Presently we work side-by-side just like the bucket brigade did in 1896. We have a wonderful community spirit with many faithful volunteers donating countless hours of labor to make Bird-in-Hand a safe and pleasant place to live and work.


There are also times when we refer to ourselves as the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company. This name is used in situations when we benefit from mentioning our Fire Company’s exact town location. It is especially helpful when we are advertising special events or fundraising dinners. That way people from out of town know where to find us.

The name Hand-in-Hand Fire Company is printed on the sides of our vehicles. We have also added East Lampeter Township to the emblem on our vehicles to specify our location and acknowledge the support they give us. With their financial help, we are able to offer many more services.

We are presently in the process of registering both the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company and the Bird-in- Hand Fire Company names. Both are correct!


A Note From the Chief…Just an ounce of prevention

img202Fire Chief Lonnie Kauffman gives these tips and suggestions. “Recognize that fire can strike anywhere and at anytime. Know the basics of using fire extinguishers and how to call 9-1-1 if there is smoke in the house. Call from your cell phone or a neighbor’s house. Working smoke detectors must be top priority. Every home and business needs an evacuation plan.”

Chief Lonnie thanks the firefighters for working together for the good of the community. He says, “In our Bird-in- Hand homes, schools, and churches we need to teach our children and remind each other about helping our neighbors. Then residents will want to maintain quality fire protection as a goodwill service.”

Appeal for Funds & Financial Report

Bird-in-Hand is a community of caring, generous people who value the services they receive. We as a Fire Company are committed to doing our part to provide the finest fire protection possible and to be an advocate for safety in general. As we work in partnership with our community, we discover that we can accomplish much more together than any of us can do on our own.

Please join with your neighbors to keep our community strong by sending your annual financial contribution to the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company.

We are volunteers who give of our own time to fight fires, respond to many other emergencies, maintain equipment, improve the Fire Hall, and conduct fundraisers. Your financial help is a vote of affirmation to us.

Last year 40% of our residents and businesses made contributions. We are grateful and take seriously our pledge to be good stewards of your gifts. Our goal in 2012 is for everyone to generously give so that the Fire Company can have adequate resources for the future. Thank you for being our partner and for helping to make Bird-in-Hand an outstanding community.SNAG-0006

2011 Fireman of the Year

firefighter_of_yearJake King was 16 when he became a firefighter like his cousins, uncle, brother-in-law, and neighbors. At first he served because it was fun and later for the camaraderie and fellowship. Presently as a business owner, he thinks more about firefighting as an opportunity to give back to the community.

In 1990 Jake served on the Finance Committee when the engine was purchased and in 2008 when the building renovations took place. He is the head of the Carriage Auction Committee and has served two terms on the Board of Directors.

Jake appreciates the spirit of the Fire Company. It is always a challenge to have a great pool of members with many wonderful ideas. But when the discussions are over and the final decision has been made, the members lay aside their differences and work together to support the common goal.

2010 Fireman of the Year

firefighter_of_yearTim Hoerner was encouraged to join the Fire Company in 1984 by Jerry Smucker after Tim had begun a new company across from the fire station. He was in a prime location to be a driver and was very much needed. Since that time Tim has served as a firefighter, recording secretary, vice president, President, Chief, and mentor.

The technology, teaching, and excitement have kept Tim with the Fire Company in many different roles. He is committed to helping community members as they experience the worst days of their lives when tragedy strikes.

Tim firmly believes in the value of community. His approach to service is to work within the framework of the community. He also stresses the importance of self-management, so that firefighters can do the right thing at the right time in an emergency.

The Year 2011 in Review

This was a unique year because many of the Fire Company responses were rescue oriented due to hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding, rather than fires and vehicle accidents. Overall there were fewer incidents totaling 105 calls. Highlights of the year were…

  • SNAG-0004Installation of an additional overhead door allowed our Squad Truck to respond more quickly.
  • Chiefs were able to talk to our 9-1-1 dispatcher with handheld portable radios at the scene thanks to an upgraded radio system.
  • The Fire Company started the research phase of a three-year process to replace the 22-year-old tank truck.
  • (photo a & b) Guests got more than just chicken pot pie on February 26. In a 3-minute skit, BIHFC Safety Team members demonstrated the do’s and don’ts of kitchen safety. Volunteers served 790 people in the dining room, 1,328 takeout quarts, and 580 delivered meals.
  • (c) On April 2 the Fire Company honored one of its own and carried Paul Smucker, former President and Chief, through Bird-in-Hand to his final resting place at the Weavertown cemetery.
  • (d) 1,125 bidders, 290 consignors, 300 volunteers, and a few thousand additional visitors generated $13,000 for the Fire Company at the 12th Annual Lancaster County Carriage & Antique Auction on June 24th. This is Hand-in-Hand Fire Company’s version of a Mud Sale!
  • In the three days following Tropical Storm Lee in September, BIHFC volunteers assisted Elizabethtown, Manheim, and East Petersburg in water rescues and pumping basements.
  • (e) And…they’re off! The Amish Country Half Marathon, 5K, and Kid’s Fun Run attracted over 625 runners to downtown Bird-in-Hand on September 9 and 10. Proceeds benefitted the Fire Company.
  • (f) October 14th brought both sunshine and stormy weather, along with 300 energetic students and 50 parents to Student Safety Day. Over 30 volunteers from BIHFC, County Dispatch, Penn State Extension, and Lancaster General Health presented hands-on sessions for grades K-2 and 3-8.
Firefighters train extensively for emergencies. New firefighters must pass Essentials, over 166 hours of classroom & hands-on training. Experienced firefighters of Hand-in-Hand Fire Company average 60 hours per year in training.