Monthly Archives: February 2013

Fire Company Excels at Maintaining its Vehicles

A Tanker Committee (composed of Chairperson Ephraim Stoltzfus, Dan J. Fisher, Lance Watt, Christ Stoltzfus Jr., Lonnie Kauffman, Steve Petersheim, and Doug Glick) has been formed with the goal of replacing our 23-year-old Tanker 4-1 by the end of 2013. The committee members have established specifications for a new tanker and are currently evaluating bids. Since the present tanker has lasted long beyond the 20-year expected service life of fire vehicles, it is timely to explain how we maintain and care for our Fire Company vehicles.

Firefighter Lance Watt gives an average of 10 hours a month to preventive maintenance and repairs. By trade he is a forensic engineer who investigates commercial vehicle incidents that contribute to crashes and the cause of fires. Well qualified, he is a mechanical engineer, ASE certified medium- and heavy-truck technician, and a licensed inspection mechanic. At the Fire Company he has served on the Board of Directors, is a Fire Police Officer, is certified to operate all vehicles, and helps with the training and certification of new drivers.Engine

Lance’s goal is to keep our vehicles in working order and ready to respond to calls. He strives to have the mechanical equipment well maintained, fully functional, and safe at all times. This is how he maximizes their availability to respond:

  • Conducts routine monthly inspections
  • Monitors the monthly inspections conducted by other members of the Fire Company
  • Maintains maintenance records for vehicles
  • Schedules outside servicing at qualified repair facilities as needed & monitors their work
  • Updates the registration, licensing & insurance documentation on a yearly basis

One of the most important reasons to be diligent about maintaining our fleet of vehicles is safety.  According to Lance, “I have conducted investigations of fire apparatus involved in accidents and in the majority of the cases they were volunteer Fire Company units. Faulty maintenance and repairs were significant contributing factors in the crashes. That is why I will do everything I can to ensure that our vehicles are as safe as possible.”

Because of the terrific community support the Fire Company receives for our fundraisers, we are well positioned financially to properly maintain our vehicle fleet at the highest level. Our generous Bird-in-Hand community enables us to get the maximum life and service from our vehicles and stands with us when they become due for replacement.

Percentage of Resident Responses to Appeal is Growing!

It is with much gratitude that the Fire Company Finance Committee reports that 2012 was a strong financial year. The Bird-in-Hand community has contributed in many ways to this strength. With a truly impressive show of support, 44% of the residents and businesses responded with donations as a result of the appeal letters. This percentage is growing and is making a wonderful impact on our ability to sustain high quality fire protection.

Three very successful fundraisers in 2012 were the annual dinners, Carriage Auction, and Half Marathon events. The Fire Company provided the structure and organization and community members generously gave their skills, talents, and time when we asked you to volunteer at these events. By working together on the fundraisers, community members made sure that the events functioned well. Your help released firefighters to concentrate on training and responding to calls.

A trademark of our Fire Company is the careful way we make decisions, especially financial ones. We are committed to being good stewards of the funds we have today so that we have resources to maintain excellent service in future years. Thank you for working with us toward this goal.SNAG-0001

Have You Made Your Escape plan?


Step 1:  Draw a floor plan of your home.

Step 2:  Mark all windows, doors, and smoke alarms.

Step 3:  Show 2 ways out of each room in case your main route is blocked by smoke or flames. Make sure windows can be opened easily.

Step 4:  Agree on an outside meeting place where everyone waits for the fire department. Draw and write “meeting place” on your plan.

Step 5:  Get your family together to practice the escape plan. It only takes 5 minutes!
Step 6:  Mail a copy of your plan to the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company with this info: First & last name, age, address, phone number & parent signature verifying that you practiced the  exit plan. We’ll call you when your prize is ready!plan

2012 Firefighter of the Year

img81Lyndon Beiler signed up with the Bird-in- Hand Fire Company in the spring of 2004 when he was 14 years old. His uncle, Ken Kauffman, was Chief from 1988-1992 and his service made a great impression on young Lyndon. Plus as a young teenager, he was in contact with the present Chief, Lonnie Kauffman, and that also influenced him to join the ranks of firefighters.

Although Lyndon could not respond to fires till he turned 16, he has been very active ever since. He served as a Lieutenant from 2008-2010, as a Captain from 2011-2012, and as the Company Training Officer since 2011. In 2013 he was elected to the position of Assistant Chief.

He says, “One of the best things the Fire Company has given me is an opportunity to meet all kinds of people in our local community. It has a way of bringing together people from diverse walks of life as we focus on one common goal.” As he responds to calls, Lyndon meets people whom he has known for a long time as well as many whom he has never met before. Either way, he finds it a privilege to help those who are experiencing a crisis in their lives and strives to make their situation better.

Lyndon finds much fulfillment in helping others. He encourages people in the community to join the effort, either in responding to calls, helping with fundraisers, or supporting the Fire Company in other ways as time allows. He states, “If you come with a willingness to give and to work hard, you will not be disappointed.” For Lyndon, it is rewarding to serve his community. Lyndon was named Fireman of the Year at the Fire Company Thanksgiving Banquet on November 14, 2012.

The Fireman of the Year is chosen through a nomination process.

The Year 2012 in Review

  • Answered exactly 100 calls 50% structure fires 50% rescue, automatic fire alarms, vehicle fires, or EMS assist calls
  • Participated in 33 firefighter trainings for a total of 1,115.5 hours. There were four cooperative trainings with other companies plus training with Gordonville ambulance for vehicle rescues.
  • Installed new UHF radios in the trucks for the new county radio system. The new system provides more range and improved building penetration for the radio signals.
  • Finalized details for our new tank truck, which is expected to be in service in 2013.
  • img83 Sold 180 carriages, valuable antiques, lots of food, and more merchandise than ever to 1,200 bidders at the Carriage and Antique Auction on June 29. A hearty thank you to all of the volunteers!
  • At our Memorial Day weekend chicken barbecue we sold 2400 halves and on Labor Day weekend 2200 halves. The February 25 Pot Pie Dinner totals were 1,113 meals and 1,081 take-out quarts.
  • img87Hosted 1,900 runners in the Half Marathon, 5K, and Kid’s Fun Run on September 6 & 7. We served a spaghetti and Amish pizza supper on Friday evening and held our Fire Company Picnic under the big tent on Saturday afternoon until the rains came.img85
  • Prepared for Superstorm Sandy on October 27 by rounding up pumps, sandbags, hoses, vacs, chainsaws, and chains. We brushed up on firefighting tactics for wind-driven fires and prepped our backup dispatch base. Crews were at our station 24/7 during the storm.


Student Safety Day Attracts Over 300 Students

It was a beautiful day filled with lots of learning and intergenerational fun. We might be a small town, but we are BIG on loving, serving, and teaching our children!


Students from Bird-in-Hand and surrounding areas gathered for Student Safety Day on October 5. Our Fire Hall was packed with 334 students, 52 adults, and 60 dedicated volunteers who were wonderful role models for our young people. It was a blessing to watch our community work together to educate our youth. These were the activities for the different age groups…

  • SNAG-0000Grades K-2: a fire gear demo, puppet show, packaging & look-alikes, 9-1-1 call simulator, a story entitled “No Dragons for Tea,” water safety, and a drawing station to review basic concepts such as hot & cold.
  • Grades 3-8: hands-on sessions using fire extinguishers, fire science, power tool safety, road safety, kitchen safety, & EDITH (Exit Drills in the Home)
  • All students watched a live shed fire, 9-1-1 call & dispatch, and fire department response to the live fire.
  • Young and old enjoyed ice cream and cookies to conclude the day.
  • Safety Day 2013 will take place on SATURDAY, October 19 and is geared towards families