Monthly Archives: September 2016

Volunteer Opportunities: Event Closer / Dinner Help

Event Closer

Time Commitment: 6:00pm-8:30pm on the Monday after an event

Details:  Even after event day cleanup, there’s always some odds & ends such as laundry, dishwasher wrap-up, organizing supplies, etc.

Contact: Eli Esh 717-656-9147


Dinner Help: Ages 12 – 102!

Time Commitment: 4-6 hours per event

Time Commitment: 4-6 hours per event
Details: There are many roles available including serving, bussing tables, dishwashing, food prep, setup/cleanup, greeting guests, and answering phones during an event. If you can help at just one event, we’d love to have you!

If interested in volunteering at a dinner, please call the Fire Hall 717-392-0112 &  leave  a message with your contact info.  Someone will call you back! 

Fall 2016 Firefighting Photos

Firefighter Andrew Beiler raises a ladder at an acquired structure training.
Firefighter Andrew Beiler raises a ladder at an acquired structure training.
Many thanks to the Jonas King family for allowing Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse Fire Companies to train on your vacant house!
Many thanks to the Jonas King family for allowing Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse Fire Companies to train on your vacant house!
Engine 41-1 crew advances a handline at an acquired structure training.
Engine 41-1 crew advances a handline at an acquired structure training.
Crews prepare to make entry at a training at Pequea Lane Training Facility.
Crews prepare to make entry at a training
at Pequea Lane Training Facility.

Sponsor Spotlight: Ettline Foods is the Sponsor of the Pasta Dinner

ettline_stylized_statement_of_support

Ettline Foods Corporation is a foodservice distributor serving businesses in six states with its headquarters in York, Pennsylvania. The company has been in existence for 127 years since its beginning as a grocery store in 1889. The biggest advantage to doing business with Ettline today is that it is an independent, employee-owned company where each individual cares about how the product is bought, stored, and delivered.

One of Ettline’s goals is to actively participate in community affairs. The company prioritizes the large number of charitable requests they receive in these ways…

  1. The charitable organization is near and dear to an Ettline employee
  2. The charitable organization is supported by one of Ettline’s customers

After the addition of Bird-in-Hand Restaurant’s smorgasbord in 2005, they began a relationship with Ettline and became a major customer. Because the Restaurant is a loyal customer and a major supporter of the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company, Ettline also has a special interest making contributions to the Half Marathon event. They are the sponsor of the Fire Company’s Friday evening Pasta Dinner and provide the refueling foods for the runners at the 5K and Half Marathon finish lines.

Restaurant Operations Manager Darryl Hassler says, “Ettline has been donating food since we started the Pasta Dinner back in 2010 when we served several hundred people. Now we serve 1,200. The portion they contribute is huge and includes sauce, meatballs, cheeses, salad mix, and bread sticks. Plus, they donate ALL of the chips, bananas, apples, granola bars, and bagels at the 5K and Half Marathon finish lines. This year they will be providing a truck for storage. Paul Grim, Ettline’s sales rep, really steps up as the food is ordered and delivered.”

Joe Ayoub, President and CEO of Ettline, and his wife were present at last year’s Pasta Dinner and were impressed that so many runners from faraway states come to our Fire Company event. He loved the community feeling and the fact that the dinner is a lot of fun for the runners, their families and friends, and the local residents.

Joe explains his company’s involvement with the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company. “The success of our company depends on the success of businesses in the community. They support us so we know the right thing to do is to support organizations that are important to them. We take great joy and pride in giving back to the community.”

Thank you to the Bird-in-Hand Restaurant Staff for preparing the Pasta Dinner. Special thanks to the 2016 leadership team of Mark Crisotomo, Darryl Hassler, Sylvia Smucker, and Sally Stoltzfus!
Thank you to the Bird-in-Hand Restaurant Staff for preparing the Pasta Dinner. Special thanks to the 2016 leadership team of Mark Crisotomo, Darryl Hassler, Sylvia Smucker, and Sally Stoltzfus!

BIHFC Purchases New Air Packs

Bird-in-Hand Fire Company purchased 18 new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) at the beginning of 2016. These new air packs replace the ones that had been in use since 1999.

The back of every seat on the firefighting apparatus contains an air pack that the firefighters slip into as they head to a fire. The packs fit like a backpack. Both the backpack and the face mask in the new models are more comfortable with better padding and weight distribution.

With the air cylinder on his back, a firefighter uses the mask anytime he enters a burning building or encounters a hazmat situation, excessive smoke, and toxic fumes. The new air packs have a heads up display (HUD) in the mask that shows the amount of air left in the air cylinder. Plus the special connection on the back is universal across all brands and can be used by any Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) to resupply air when a firefighter is in trouble.

Chief Lonnie Kauffman says, “Another advantage of the new air packs is their true 30-minute cylinders. With the old packs a fire fighter had only 15-20 minutes of breathing air in the cylinder.”

Bird-in-Hand received a grant in the amount of $48,735 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through their Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG). The total price for the air packs was $122,000.

Junior Firefighter Arlan Miller checks a gauge on his new air pack. The cylinders are industry standard with 4500 psi.
Junior Firefighter Arlan Miller checks a gauge on his new air pack. The cylinders are industry standard with 4500 psi.

Positions within the Fire Company: Engineers / Drivers

The following article continues a series detailing various positions that our firefighters fill.  From basic skills to top management, all roles are vitally important in making our Fire Company function well.  We hope these articles help community members better understand how we function as a team using everyone’s strengths within a chain of command.

Joining hands to do the best job possible 

At Bird-in-Hand there is a pool of twenty Fire Company Members who drive the vehicles to the scene of an emergency. Many of these engineers are trained and experienced at driving all four apparatus: tanker, pumper, and two squad trucks.

The first responsibility of the engineer is to drive safely to the emergency. Driving defensively means always being aware of how the public responds to the apparatus with its flashing lights and sirens. In the forefront is the thought, “What is that other driver going to do?” Engineers make sure an intersection is clear before proceeding through a red light. The speed limit may be exceeded under normal and safe conditions.

At the emergency scene the engineer stays with his apparatus. He needs to thoroughly know the location and function of all of the firefighting equipment on his vehicle. That way he can help the firefighters secure the equipment they need as they exit the truck.

The engineer who drives the Pierce Lance Pumper is the person who operates the pump. There are sequential steps to manning the pump and with hours of training and practice, they become almost instinctive to the engineer. Operating the pump requires a specific skill set and the ability to work quickly. Experience also makes it possible to detect trouble or changes by listening to the various sounds that the pump makes.

After the apparatus returns to the station, the engineer has a check list that he follows to prepare the truck for its next call. If the truck needs to be washed, he enlists helpers. He makes sure that the driver’s seat is properly positioned, the radio is set on the correct channel, and all of the truck systems are reset. Also important is checking the fuel gauge; the tank must always be at least three quarters full.

At Bird-in-Hand a member has to be 21 years or older to begin training as an engineer. The first drives are around the parking lot of the Fire Station to get the feel of how to maneuver the apparatus. Then there are many hours of practice runs on the road and additional hours of operating the pump. Only then is the new engineer ready to drive the apparatus to an emergency.

A Note from the Chief: Five Essential Questions

When a fire company is dispatched for a house fire, there are five essential questions that need answers so that firefighters can do their job. Their priorities are protecting lives and protecting property, in that order. When the fire chief arrives on scene, he will immediately need to know the following:

  1. Where are the people?
  2. Where is the fire?
  3. How big is the fire?
  4. How big might the fire become?
  5. Where might it go in the next several minutes?

Answers to these questions affect where the chief tells the fire trucks to park, what he tells crews to do initially, and whether he calls the dispatch center and asks for a second alarm. At the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company we use our annual census book as one tool to help answer the question of how many people could be in a house (especially at night) and whether there are hazards present that could make the fire worse, such as a propane tank or oxygen cylinders.

Flickering Embers of the Past: Becoming a Firefighter in the Old Days

When Dan Fisher Sr. joined the Fire Company in 1963, there were no training requirements. He had attended fire meetings as a boy with his dad, Levi “Dutch” Fisher, in the old fire hall across the street from the present one. Ironically they were called “smoke meetings” because the meeting room was blue with tobacco smoke! Always there was chitchat after the business of the evening was finished.
While he was still a child, Dan started helping with local calls. Whenever he saw smoke, he ran to the scene along with farmers and the rest of the neighborhood. It was a bit like freelancing at firefighting.

When Dan was 17 he officially joined the Fire Company, paid his annual dues, and rode to the fires on the equipment. At that time the basic process of joining was paying dues and attending monthly meetings. There was also training available on the county level as evidenced by training certificates that were earned, but not nearly everyone took the training. According to Dan Sr., firefighting was learned through experience.

Flickering Embers from the Past: A Flat Out Win!

n the early 1950s there were Fire Company competitions at Green Dragon in Ephrata.

According to Dave Haldeman, there was a starting point and at the sound of a whistle each company moved into the source of the water supply. Then they hooked up their pump and delivered on the target. The quickest company was recognized as the winner.

Bird-in-Hand had practiced for the competition with their old 1936 Diamond T. However, East Petersburg arrived very proud and confident with their brand new Seagrave engine and pump .

When the whistle sounded, Bird-in-Hand started their rotary gear pump. It was the kind that took awhile to start putting out water. Cliff White was holding the hose and waiting. When the engineer shot to full pressure right away, Cliff was not prepared and it knocked him down on his behind, but Bird-in-Hand took the prize! The old Diamond T delivered faster than the new Seagrave engine and pump!

Old Community / Fire Co. Photos Wanted!

Calling old Bird-in-Hand community and/or Fire Company photos from all decades up to the present!  We are seeking additional photos for our historical collection (framed in  the fire station’s dining room) and to help spark conversations between younger and older generations.  Community members, fire equipment, special community events, etc. are welcome.  If you have photos you are willing to share, please contact Amy Wissing 717.330.3149 amywissing@birdinhandfire.com.  She can assist with scanning hard copy photos if you need help.