What The Community Should Know About Volunteer Firefighters

Being that volunteer firefighting is embedded in the history of Long Island, the members of the community are well aware of what we do, and who we are. Some may be proud of us, and others may think we’re a cult. Either way, when they call for us, we’re going to come help. The one interesting thing about us is the fact that we all come from different walks of life, but we have the same interest in protecting members of the community. You have your “buffs” who make it well known that they’re firefighters, your old timers that still hang around, and members that don’t sport it, but still come down for the calls and drills. We all work together to make sure emergencies are handled.

The community sees us responding to calls, they see us in parades, they come to our fire prevention days, and also our fundraisers. Maybe some of them think that all we do is drink and spend money. But do they really know what goes on inside during the week? They’ve all heard about the fact that when the alarm goes off, we have to leave dinner or get up in the middle of the night to respond to a call which is true. The other part that they may not be aware of is the preparation for everything we do.

Training:

On Long Island, firefighters train at the very least once a week. More often than not, most of us do multiple drills a week, or take classes to better our skills. Each drill we do is roughly 2 hours depending on the topic or department. We train in buildings that are built just like our houses and businesses, and we use real fire to emulate a real life scenario. We use beat up cars to practice using the “jaws of life” and so on and so forth. Also, most drills aren’t easy. We are thrown a multitude of different scenarios to try and throw us off our game so that when things get hairy in real life, we have the ability to adapt and overcome.

Meetings:

On top of our training, most of us attend at the very least two meetings a month. Some members that are part of other committees will attend additional meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to make sure that our department is running properly, and to discuss things we need to change up in our strategy. In the meetings, we discuss various different topics regarding the community or the fire service in general. For the most part, our meetings are focused on improving our organization so that in turn, we give our community the best level of service.

Preparedness:

It is our job to make sure that our trucks and equipment are ready to go at all times. For instance, after battling a house fire, we have to repack all of our hose (hundreds of feet) and change out the bottles in our air packs. We have to make sure all of our tools are cleaned and put back. Then, when we get back to the firehouse, we have to take all of the empty air bottles out and replace them with filled bottles. We also have to wash our gear, and make sure everything is put back the way it was before we left. This takes a decent amount of time after already being exhausted.

Alarms:

This is the basis of what we do. But let’s discuss the amount of time we actually spend on alarms. For a standard call that comes in, such as a fire alarm going off in a building, it might only be a 20 minute run if it’s just a false alarm. On the other hand, if it’s an actual fire and depending on the size, it can be hours that we’re operating. This includes the middle of the night. Some of us have been in positions where we leave the house at 2am for a fire and get back home just in time to take a shower before work. EMS alarms at the very least take 45 minutes to an hour depending on the situation.

Overall, it’s what we like to do. We’re happy to come out and help a neighbor in need at whatever time. From the outside, it’s easy to see the basic things we do, but this is just a quick idea of what actually goes on and the time we take out of our personal lives to do so. So next time you see us on the road, think about what was listed here today. The best part of all, you can join too! That is if you have the time to do so. But in the meantime, you’ll always be able to count on us.


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