Firefighting

Firefighting: Dedication & Technology

Recent News

From bucket brigades to a rig pulled by firemen to horse-drawn equipment to modern trucks and tankers, the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company has been a progressive company. They have been leaders in Lancaster County with their innovative firefighting techniques. Today the following equipment and techniques are standard:

• Enclosed cabs
• Assigned gear
• Air packs
• Compressed air foam system
• Thermal imaging cameras
• CO detectors for carbon monoxide and other gasses
• Larger pumps and tankers
• Organizing neighboring fire companies and their tankers so that there is a constant water supply at all fire sites
• Using an automatic system of multi-alarms

The Fire Company has made it a priority to learn about new technology and methods that are available to firefighters as evidenced by its rigorous trainings. It is true that the better the firefighters become, the tougher the challenges are. The modern construction techniques that reduce building costs make firefighting very dangerous due to fast-burning, lightweight building materials. For example, the present engine has the capacity to pump 1500-2000 gallons of water per minute on a fire. That is the same as emptying the water in a backyard swimming pool in two minutes. However, with present-day construction, the challenge is getting the water to the right place (directly on the fire), and dealing with floors supported by plywood trusses that cannot hold the water weight.

Firefighters must go through a continuing process of learning to evaluate emergency situations and determining exactly what they can do without endangering themselves. As their ability to extinguish fires improves, society’s choices make the fires burn faster and hotter, seemingly negating the advancement of the firefighting techniques. The Fire Company continually keeps an open mind and evaluates new technology to determine whether it will be beneficial to their firefighting efforts.

Firefighters need to understand what they are capable of doing and then decide if it is worth the risk. That decision is made at every fire. A key concept is that they will risk a lot to save a savable life. However, they do not want to risk anything to save nothing. Current President Tim Hoerner comments, “Today the most important things we bring to firefighting are an attitude of self-preservation along with an urgency and ability to solve our community’s emergencies when they occur.”

A firefighter replenishes foam concentrate supply atop today's Engine 4-1-1. Photo courtesy of Greg Leaman.
A firefighter replenishes foam concentrate supply atop today’s Engine 4-1-1. Photo courtesy of Greg Leaman.

News

Fall 2016 Firefighting Photos

September 19, 2016
Firefighter Andrew Beiler raises a ladder at an acquired structure training.

BIHFC Purchases New Air Packs

September 19, 2016
Since the air pack is a firefighter’s lifeline, it is one of the most important pieces of equipment he uses.

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 … Continue reading BIHFC Purchases New Air Packs

Positions within the Fire Company: Engineers / Drivers

September 19, 2016
driver

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 … Continue reading Positions within the Fire Company: Engineers / Drivers

A Note from the Chief: Five Essential Questions

September 19, 2016

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: Where are the people? … Continue reading A Note from the Chief: Five Essential Questions

Active Firefighting Photo Album

February 17, 2016

Photos contributed by Lavelle Beiler

Safety Tip

February 17, 2016

Joining Hands to do the Best Job Possible

February 17, 2016

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 … Continue reading Joining Hands to do the Best Job Possible

2015 Fire Company Responses

February 17, 2016

A Note from the Chief: Fighter or Provider?

February 17, 2016

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 … Continue reading A Note from the Chief: Fighter or Provider?

Senior Firemen Keep Fire Company’s History Alive

February 17, 2016

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 … Continue reading Senior Firemen Keep Fire Company’s History Alive