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.


2016 Firefighter of the Year

March 01, 2017

Christian Stoltzfus, Jr. joined the Fire Company as a Junior Firefighter when he was 17 years old. He is the fifth son in a lineup of nine boys in his family. All of his older brothers had become firefighters before him so it was natural for him to join too. In addition to responding to fires, Junior has served as a lieutenant … Continue reading 2016 Firefighter of the Year

2016 Fire Company Responses

March 01, 2017

Families Support their Firefighters

March 01, 2017

The Bird-in-Hand Fire Company held its annual Turkey Dinner on November 16, 2016 at Good and Plenty Restaurant. This is a time when present Fire Company members enjoy getting together with those who have served with the Company in the past. It is truly a heartwarming event with lots of good food and great conversation. … Continue reading Families Support their Firefighters

Positions within the Fire Company

March 01, 2017

Joining hands to do the best job possible  Fire Police Officers are an integral part of the Fire Company and respond every time there is an emergency call. One of their main functions is to ensure the safety of firefighters and protect their vehicles and equipment at the scene of an incident. They also protect … Continue reading Positions within the Fire Company

Fall 2016 Firefighting Photos

September 19, 2016

BIHFC Purchases New Air Packs

September 19, 2016

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

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