Hughesville Fire Department wins service award
HUGHESVILLE – Hundreds of thousands of house fires happen every week in America, and the best way to prepare for a fire is to have a plan say the emergency responders and local volunteers who serve with the fire departments. Although Fire Prevention Week is celebrated from October 7 through the 13, David Bressler who is with the Hughesville Fire Dept. said that they enforce fire safety all year round. The Hughesville Volunteer Fire Department held an open house on Sunday afternoon to inform the community on home safety, smoke alarms, evacuation plans and escape routes. They also received a First Place Service Award for fire prevention from the Central District Volunteer Fireman’s Association.
Smokey the Bear made an appearance and handed out coloring sheets for the kids and public safety handouts. Local firefighters were also on hand to give tours, blood pressure checks and answer questions.
The department operates and maintains six fire engines plus one ambulance. One of the largest, Engine 24, was purchased in 2001 and is equipped with 10 special hoses operated by a computerized system for the pump. There is also a tank onboard that holds 750 gallons of water plus 20 gallons of foam to smother diesel or petroleum fires explained Darin Smith who has been a firefighter for 30 years.
One of the department’s engines, Engine #I-24, is going to be replaced soon as it is 22 years old and no longer suitable, but will be sold to a smaller fire company. Sometimes the fire trucks are on call on an “as needed basis” to assist other neighboring communities, depending on the alarm or severity of the fire. “We are on automatic mutual aid to assist,” said Smith. He also said that all engines are customized for each fire department depending on compartment space because each fire company does something a little different. “A new design is in the works to replace Engine I-24,” he added.
Steve Stiger, Fire Chief, said that they average about 200 to 215 calls a year and the ambulance gets up to 450 calls each year. However, house fires take first precedence. In case of an emergency or disaster, the fire department is able to handle evacuations. “Part of our social hall here is equipped with a back-up generator for an evacuation center,” said Stiger who also said that the high school is fully equipped for emergencies.
With close to 75 volunteers in the organization, “We are always looking for more help,” Stiger said. “Just stop by any Monday night. We are always here then.”
The Hughesville Volunteer Fire Department is part of the Central District Volunteer Fireman’s Association that gave them a first place trophy award for three years in a row. The roving trophy was proudly displayed during the open house. “What we do is important,” Stiger added. “We teach children on fire safety, evacuation and show photos to the kids on what we do. We go to pre-schools too in the community,” he said as part of their education and training.