Category Archives: Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities

Fire Company Photographer Needed

cameraFire Company Photographer

Time Commitment: Various

Equipment: Digital camera (SLR preferred, but point-and-shoot will also work) or digital video camera

Details: We’re looking for someone to photograph on the scene during fire calls and at trainings. Photos would be used for archival and fire company educational/promotional purposes.

Contact: Amy Wissing at 717-330-3149 or

Computer/Equipment Help Needed

Building Electrical Wiring, Radios, Computer Equipment/Systems

Do you have interest and knowledge of maintaining and improving computer equipment/systems, radios, or building electrical wiring? We have a variety of systems needing attention and could really use your help. Call for details!

Contact: Tim Hoerner at 717-291-1687 or

A Note From the Chief… JOIN OUR TEAM!

You have seen them…big red shiny fire trucks hurrying to an emergency. Maybe a fire company has even helped you. When those fire trucks pull up to a scene of chaos and the parking brakes are set with a who-o-o-sh, men and women scamper out and go to work. We call them firefighters.

What all have they been through to earn that title? The time your volunteers give to answering fire calls is only a small part of the total hours they donate to their community.

There is a huge amount of work that goes into making sure a fire company is prepared…

  • fire truck maintenance
  • training coordination & record keeping
  • tactical planning (“if this building ever burns, use this driveway for…”)
  • financial planning
  • fundraising
Crews practice vehicle rescue training in Witmer Fire Co. parking lot.

Have you ever thought about joining the fantastic team at the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company? No matter what your talents, skill set, or interests are, there is a task at the fire station that will be a good fit for you!

Written by Chief Lonnie Kauffman

Financial Support is Vital

Did you know that over 70% of the general funding of our 100% volunteer fire company comes from your donations and support of our fundraising efforts?

2013fundraisingAt Bird-in-Hand we have a long tradition of relying on our local residents and businesses for the financial support needed to remain a vibrant and active volunteer fire company. Over the years their involvement has provided the great creativity and teamwork needed to successfully protect our growing community.

We feel that this broad-based community involvement benefits our area in many ways. First, it minimizes the tax burden for all of us. Second, it keeps us accountable and in tune with what our community expects from their fire company. Third, it allows us to engage the many talented individuals and businesses in our first due area and provides lots of volunteer opportunities for everyone. And finally, we believe it strengthens the fabric of our community as neighbors work with neighbors, hand-in-hand for a common cause.

Thank you for your tremendous support of the Fire Company!

Help Needed to Replace Town Sign

Dan Fisher Sr. and John Smucker are spearheading an effort to replace the missing Keystone Marker at the west end of town. The tradition of using the blue and gold keystone to mark the entrance to towns, rivers, and trails is unique to Pennsylvania. They are called “gateway guardians” and are considered a remarkable treasure in our state.

The goal is to raise the required $1,000 to replace the marker. Please send your contributions to Keystone Marker Trust, c/o Bird-in-Hand Corporation, 2727 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, PA 17505. Checks should be made out to Keystone Marker Trust. Thank you for your help!

Your donations are needed to help replace the Keystone Marker on this empty pole west of Bird-in-Hand.
This Bird-in-Hand sign is featured on the Keystone Marker Trust’s website along with other unique town names.


Town Cleanup is a Strong Bird-in-Hand Tradition

The annual Town Cleanup Day in Bird-in-Hand was held on Saturday, May 31. The crews typically start at 6 am when traffic is not heavy. When there is a good turnout, the project takes 1½ hours.
Nineteen workers and two fire police were on hand in 2014. This is an event where young and old work together. Ages ranged from 13 to 68. Two crews worked on the south and north sides of the Old Philadelphia Pike.
The starting place is at the Fire Hall and the crews work their way through town to Maple Avenue. They make sure the railroad underpass, stairways, and sidewalks are clean for another year and enjoy coffee and doughnuts at the Fire Hall when they are finished.
Town Cleanup Day was started as a Boy Scout’s project with a few community people helping him. The first year three dump truck loads were hauled away because, except for six inches at the edge, the sidewalks were covered with grass and weeds. The cleanup was a big part of the preparation for the 250th Anniversary of Bird-in-Hand in 1984.


Steps to Training as a Firefighter

As part of a firefighter scavenger hunt training, Jacob Stoltzfus, Mike Burkholder & Dave Lane find a FDC (fire department connection) for a building’s sprinkler system.

What do you want to be when you grow up? When eager children think of shiny red engines racing through the streets with sirens sounding, thick hoses gushing with water, Dalmatian dogs, and long, long ladders with lots of steps, their answer is…a firefighter!

There are many steps up the firefighting ladder to becoming a firefighter. But the children are correct; it is a noble goal and a rewarding way to serve your neighbors.

Hand-in-Hand Fire Company welcomes members of our Bird-in-Hand community to consider joining us as firefighters or support staff. As we talk to potential members, we determine their expectations and then look at their skills. We offer a step-by-step training program that gives new firefighters the knowledge and confidence they need to be a part of an excellent team.

Follow Bob White Through Trainingbobwhite

Meet “Bob White,” a Bird-in-Hand native son, who is 14 years old. Even though people of all ages are needed in our organization and joining the Fire Company as an adult is definitely an option, we will follow Bob through his training to become an active firefighter at Hand-in-Hand.
Childhood: Bob’s family has always been active in the Fire Company. He has helped with fundraising dinners, the Carriage Auction, and the Half Marathon and as a very little boy, has fallen asleep at meetings he attended with his parents.


Age 14-15: He begins to attend trainings, but does not respond to fire calls. The company trainings are twice a month on the third Tuesday and fourth Monday.

Age 16-17: This is a special step! Bob is ready to train as a Junior Firefighter. He responds to fires, but does no interior firefighting, plus there are some equipment restrictions for him.

Age 18: Upon turning 18, Bob can be voted in as firefighter if he has been training for at least six months and completed the required checklist.

Junior Firefighter Training

Bob has a set of guidelines to follow that have been developed for the Junior Firefighters at Bird-in-Hand. They are very basic, but also very important to give him a solid foundation. In this step of his training he is learning to…img344

  • don turnout gear properly till it becomes second nature
  • locate equipment on apparatus
  • maintain self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) & change cylinders
  • set up lighting properly
  • pack hose on apparatus properly so that it deploys quickly
  • understand the accountability system and the importance of working together as a team under the direction of an officer.

Active Firefighter Training

As an able-bodied 18-year-old Bob steps beyond the basics and begins advanced training. He will always have the opportunity of continuing basic required training as well as participating in trainings with other companies and classes at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center. The company trainings that Bob attends along with 10-30 other firefighters include lots of hands-on learning. They are organized by Lyndon Beiler, Training Officer, and taught by Hand-in-Hand officers who have expertise in certain areas of firefighting. In order to take the next step and join the roster as Active Firefighter, Bob needs to…

  • don turnout gear in one minute and SCBA in one minute
  • demonstrate nurse tanker setup and operation, which involves getting water supply from other tankersimg358
  • understand how to set up a fill site, which involves taking water from a creek or pond
  • lay supply hose line from engine and hook up to engine and tanker using wyes (appliances)
  • demonstrate proper hand line advancement and application using smaller hoses
  • understand Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) and its benefits
  • understand the radio system; the technology is being updated countywide
  • demonstrate proper ladder placement in secure places, such as a rescue from a window
  • demonstrate operations of fans for ventilation and saws for cutting into a building
  • ventilate vertically (roof), horizontally (doors & windows), and trench cut (large commercial building in the roof)img362
  • understand signs of rollover, flashover, and backdraft, which are specific situations that can happen during a fire
  • complete National Incident Management System 700 (NIMS)
  • identify confined space equipment, which is on the squad for rescues in tight spaces
  • display common sense and know limits and boundaries


After passing all 14 of these steps, Bob is recommended to Chief Lonnie Kauffman. The Chief surveys all officers and then takes Bob’s name to the Board of Directors. They in turn present his name to the general members who vote.

Congratulations to Bob! He has been approved as an active firefighter! One more required training that Bob will have to take within a year of his approval is HAZMAT (hazardous materials) certification.

Since Hand-in-Hand highly recommends advanced training in areas such as knots and rigging, map books, preplans for commercial buildings, rapid intervention team operations, and four modules of essentials and more levels of NIMS, Bob can continue to fine tune his firefighting skills as he serves his community.img360bobwhite4

Hospitality Help Needed for Safety Day

img296Time Commitment: 5 hrs. on Sat. Oct. 19

Equipment: You!
Details: No prior knowledge necessary! Nothing to prepare! Lead a group of adults and children through short, hands-on sessions at Safety Day. Your main jobs are people-moving and being an enthusiastic participant.

If interested, please contact Amy Wissing 717-330-3149 or

If you’re not available on Saturday, but would like to help with preparation, setup, or cleanup, call Amy!