Category Archives: Positions

Positions within the Fire Company: 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.


Leading the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company on the administrative side is the president, who is also the chair of the Board of Directors. This Board consists of 12 members: president, vice president, recording secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, chief, deputy chief, assistant chief, fire police captain and three members at large.

The president and Board of Directors are responsible for making sure the Fire Company’s mission is accomplished and the vision is fulfilled. Giving direction, setting goals, and establishing a specific tone and rapport are also included in the president’s tasks.

The president is voted into office by the Fire Company membership every December and serves until a successor is found. It is important for presidents to identify leadership qualities in members and mentor others to come on board when they step out of this role.

In a nutshell, the president presides at the Board of Directors meetings on the last Tuesday of each month and Fire Membership meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. He also appoints committees and sits in on their meetings. Presently there are six committees: Nominating, Pot Pie, BBQ, Half Marathon, Administrative and Human Resources.

Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Fire Company is a major part of the job. Firefighting is just one aspect of this organization. There are other areas requiring management and an eye for detail. The president takes care of phone calls and emails, is in touch with financial officers, serves as a spokesperson and represents the Fire Company when there are legal issues. The president also keeps track of how plans are implemented and follows through to assure projects are completed.

Working with volunteers in a nonprofit organization requires skill in leading others, motivating them to rally around a cause and to move forward on projects. It should be done in a way that avoids unpleasantness or opposition and without offending or hurting others’ feelings. It takes diplomacy to be president!

Tim Hoerner has served in the capacity of president since 2009. He also served two earlier terms making this his 13th year as president. He states, “My favorite part o f this role is the satisfaction of working with people who have a common mindset and common goals. This allows for successful performance of our mission and the implementation of our vision. The mission is what we do on a daily basis and the vision is how we are going to be able to continue to do that.”
It is vital to the president to have competent people in the many Fire Company positions. When volunteers do their parts well and with skill and expertise, a leader benefits from all the cooperation. It is also crucial for the Fire Company to have overriding principles that are sustainable, enduring, and able to continue even when a new president is installed. Bird-in-Hand is fortunate to have both of these attributes and they help make our Company successful.

Positions within the Fire Company

Fire Police Officers Glen Siegrist, Jim Herr, Les Fazekas, Norm Decker. Not pictured: Carl Kauffman, Lance Watt, Anthony Danner, Butch Berry

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 residents, spectators, and media personnel from being harmed; set up a yellow tape security perimeter around the incident to keep them from interfering with the work of the firefighters; and safely direct motorists around the scene.

When their pagers go off, the Fire Police Officers drive their personal vehicles directly to the scene. After arrival, the first thing the Fire Police Captain does is to assess the magnitude of the incident. He then works closely with the Fire Chief to determine how far back onlookers must stay, which roads need to be closed, and what alternative routes and detours can be set up. Using his radio he assigns the Fire Police Officers to direct traffic at key locations.

In their personal vehicles Fire Police Officers carry flares and at least three traffic cones, enough to close down a road until more equipment is available. The Fire Company squad truck carries the Detour, Road Closed, and Incident Ahead signs as well as barricades and cones. Firefighters make the rounds to set out and then gather up the signs.

Safety gear for the Fire Police Officers includes high-visibility lime jackets and pants. Three essentials they must have while on duty are an official hat or helmet, a metal badge, and a flashlight with a red cone. High-visibility safety vests are also a standard requirement.

After the Fire Company brings new Fire Police Officers on board, they go before a local judge or the township supervisors. Classes that lead to certification are offered at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center in Manheim. The classes cover traffic control, the proper use of PennDot required traffic control devices, PA State Traffic Laws, and public relations training to enable the Fire Police Officer to better relate to civilians at any given incident. Personal appearance and grooming is a major part of the training.

In addition to fires and accidents, Fire Police Officers protect the community during weather-related emergencies, such as road closings due to flooding or downed wires and trees. They are also called upon to direct traffic during large community events such as the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon and Lancaster County Carriage & Antique Auction.

Present Fire Police Captain Norm Decker says, “The reward for us is knowing that we are doing our part to keep things orderly and safe during an emergency. It’s great to know we are offering protection and possibly saving lives.”
Fire Police Captain Norm Decker and Fire Police Officer Les Fazekas contributed to this article.

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.