Category Archives: Newsletter

Volunteer Opportunities: Dinner Helpers

Time Commitment: 4-6 hours
at Feb. 20 Chicken Pot Pie or May 28 Chicken BBQ
Details: Many roles are available including serving, bussing tables, dishwashing, food prep, setup/cleanup, greeting guests, and answering phones during an 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! 

Active Firefighting Photo Album

Photos contributed by Lavelle Beiler

Multi company training at Sight & Sound on Nov. 9, 2015. There were Sight & Sound employees hidden in various parts of the building and firefighters needed to locate them and “rescue” them.
Multi company training at Sight & Sound on Nov. 9, 2015. There were Sight & Sound employees hidden in various parts of the building and firefighters needed to locate them and “rescue” them.
SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) training on Jan. 19, 2016 with the new air packs recently purchased to replace the 16-year-old packs.
SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) training on Jan. 19, 2016 with the new air packs recently purchased to
replace the 16-year-old packs.

sight-n-sound_drill2

Joining Hands to do the Best Job Possible

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.

CAPTAINS & LIEUTENANTS

The captains and lieutenants are known as line officers. They are on the front line at the scene of a fire or accident and serve as crew leaders on the ground. The chief gives these officers their tasks and they in turn figure out how to get that job done. That means the officers receive orders and then turn around and give orders.

They know the abilities of all of the basic firefighters and understand their individual strengths. Thus, these officers know best which firefighter should be doing which job. They are well qualified to match the firefighters’ skills with the requirements of the job at the scene of an emergency. They depend on their years of training and service to help them organize and lead their ground crew.

In order to serve as a line officer, a firefighter has to be…

  • a very active member of the Fire Company
  • a senior firefighter
  • available to show up for calls
  • willing to go through the rigors of training
  • a capable person who can handles tasks well
  • physically fit with lots of stamina

The three company chiefs meet to choose their team of officers. That means the line officers are appointed, not elected. A certain level of responsibility comes with being chosen. Even though newly appointed officers might not feel ready for their positions, they know someone saw potential in them. They accept the positions assured of future leadership and mentorship.

In addition to being a line officer, they all have other tasks. Members of the present team have these individual responsibilities: in charge of confined space rescue equipment, in charge of engine bay, help with power equipment, in charge of managing turnout gear, and help with training.

When the officers respond to a typical call, two ride on the engine, one on the tanker, and one on the squad. When there is overlap on fire calls, they go by seniority since there is a respect that is learned in the ranks. They know each other well and call out, “I got it. I’m taking it.” In order to provide training and experience to his officers when there is a lower key incident, the chief will occasionally go to the back of the engine and say, “You’re up front.” That puts the officer in charge!

Thanks to Ephraim Stoltzfus (Captain 1), Junior Stoltzfus (Captain 2), Mike Burkholder (Lieutenant 1), and Mark Beiler (Lieutenant 2) for taking part in an interview for this article.

Financial Report: A Balanced Budget in Bird-in-Hand

Thanks to the support of our community, 2015 was another prosperous year for our fire company. We were able to fund all of the needs of the fire company, successfully providing our volunteers with the apparatus and equipment they needed to safely and efficiently protect the community of Bird-in-Hand.

By continuing to exercise spending discipline, we were also able to set aside funds for future anticipated purchases. Among these upcoming purchases will be the replacement of our current air packs that are almost two decades old, plus new radios to take advantage of the new county-wide radio system. These two projects are expected to cost nearly $170,000 in 2016.

Our fire dues donations slipped from 373 donors in 2014 to 334 donors in 2015. However, we remain very blessed, and greatly appreciate every financial donation, as well as all of the volunteer hours given by our community in support of our fundraising efforts. We ask that you please continue to stand by our volunteers by supporting them with a donation in 2016. Remember, even if you’re only able to give a small amount, your support makes a difference!

2015Income

Our account balances as of year-end 2015 were:
Checking accounts…………………………… $165,618.61
Savings accounts……………………………… $113,333.93
Certificates of Deposit………………………..$ 50,000.00

Bird-in-Hand Fire Company is a financially transparent organization.
Detailed financial reports are available upon request.
Please contact Paul Fisher (717-380-1109) or Ivan Stoltzfus (717-341-0297).

Sign Up Early…Events are Selling Out!

There’s still time to register for the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon and 5k. There is a hard cap on both events – 2,000 max for half marathon and 1,000 max for the 5k. Register online now at www.BIHHalf.com If you do not have internet access, please contact Paul Fisher 717-380-1109.

Be a part of the race, without leaving home!

If you live along the race route, runners greatlyappreciate cheering, encouraging posters, a misting hose, or a little entertainment. Show your community spirit and do something that suits you or if you’re short on ideas, contact Stanley Shrock 717-587-6284.

 

A Note from the Chief: Fighter or Provider?

Benjamin Franklin started a fire brigade in Philadelphia that had one purpose – to fight fires. Hence, the men were called firefighters. We fight against something negative; something people don’t want, such as a fire in a building.

Fire service in America has followed that concept quite closely. However, today’s local fire companies are much more than fighters. They are also providers; providing something people want. They provide rescue at vehicle accidents, assist property owners in investigating automatic alarms at local businesses, control hazardous materials spills, provide traffic control, assist EMS crews, and provide farm and wild land rescue services.

These responses all require knowledge and this means many evenings and Saturdays spent in training. What’s in the name firefighter/provider? Come see for yourself at the Bird-in-Hand Fire Station on the third Tuesday evening of each month as you watch your firefighters go through training.

Senior Firemen Keep Fire Company’s History Alive

Bird-in-Hand’s most senior firefighters met together at the Fire Hall on Thursday, January 14 for a morning of reminiscing. As Dave Haldeman (68 years), Glenn Siegrist (66 years), Dan S. Fisher (53 years), Les Fazekas (45 years), and Bud Shirk (41 years) told their stories, they flamed up fading embers from the past. John Schell (57 years) added his memories in a later interview.

Their stories follow a common theme of dedication to their community. Together they have served an impressive total of 330 years. These men were firefighters, chief, deputy chief, fire police captains, chaplain, president, and board member. In their words, “We did what needed to be done.”

Here are some brightly glowing embers that flicker from the past:

  • In the old days, the way to get started as a firefighter was to pay the annual dues and come to the fire meetings. There were also firefighting courses available but not everyone took those. Dan S. Fisher came to the meetings with his dad Dutch and then started going to the fires too. He “freelanced” at firefighting. “Whenever we saw smoke, we went to the fire. When we got there, we grabbed a hose and ran.” Firefighters came, but farmers and neighbors also showed up to fight the fire.
  • At a low point in the Fire Company, when only six men came out for the Fire Company meetings, the Brubakers from the Beechdale Duck Farm worked hard to keep it going. They said, “Let’s have a turkey dinner.” They supplied the turkeys from their farm and Vince Miller was the chief cook.
    Fifteen people were at that meal at the old fire station before the kitchen addition was put on the back. They sat on the running boards of the fire truck since there was no other place to sit. Today it is still called the turkey dinner, but instead of 15, now 150 community people gather to enjoy the evening.
  • Early on, the Amish in our community were encouraged to join the Fire Company. One of the first Amishmen was Andrew Beiler. He bought one of the two-wheeled handcarts that the firefighters used. It was pulled by a rope and the pressure was generated by dumping water, soda, and acid together. The water shot 60 feet in the air. The Beiler family has been faithful to the Fire Company. Today three of Andrew Beiler’s greatgrandsons, Andrew, Mark and Benjamin are firefighters.
  • Aaron Miller from Gibbons Road encouraged John Schell to join the Fire Company a few years after John bought his house on Beechdale Road and moved to the Bird-in-Hand area from Lebanon County. John suspects Aaron needed a ride to the fire station. When the fire siren sounded, John drove his pickup truck along Beechdale Road and slowed down enough for Amish firefighters to jump on the back. He arrived at the station with a full load!

There are still many more stories to retell from the January 14 roundtable discussion. Watch for brightly glowing embers in the next issues of the Fire Company newsletter.

 

Senior Firemen Bud Shirk, Dave Haldeman, Les Fazekas, Glenn Siegrist and Dan Fisher (not pictured) gather at the Fire Hall to tell their stories of long years of service.
Senior Firemen Bud Shirk, Dave Haldeman, Les Fazekas, Glenn Siegrist and Dan Fisher (not pictured) gather at the Fire Hall to tell their stories of long years of service.