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December 16, 2016
Professionalism is a word often used to describe our volunteers when neighbors thank us for our help with their accident, fire, medical or other emergency. They use other words as well—including courtesy, care, and skill—but professionalism strikes me most because it reflects the time and dedication that our volunteers put into training and preparation.
Preparation includes having the right equipment. As you might imagine, medical, rescue and firefighting equipment is all a bit pricey. For example, OSHA requires that we replace our SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) carbon fiber bottles on a mandated schedule. Our supplier just quoted the 3 that we need this year—just shy of $1,000 each. That’s a lot of bake sales!
You also wouldn’t want to eat my baking: that’s why we need your contribution every year for equipment and training costs that would, frankly, blow out the town budget. 2016 warrant article M38 appropriates $49,925 for the FD operating budget, while M39 is $20,000 for the truck reserve account (bringing the total reserve balance to $62,273). Those 3 SCBA bottles alone would increase the operating budget by 6% and a basic fire truck will cost more than $300,000.
We need to replace Engine 1 in the next few years. We do our best to keep it in service, but it is at an age where it is not as reliable as we would like and it is expensive to maintain. A recent phantom leak in its water tank was hard to locate and repair. Call us crazy, but we like to know that we have water in the trucks when we pull up to a structure fire, so we are setting aside money that we raise to help supplement the reserve when it is time to get a new Engine 1.
As mentioned last year, there has also been an uptick in emergencies on the water. The amazing support of your neighborhood lobstermen (and women) has been crucial with these. It would be a big ask, though, to bring their beautiful boats into a rock-bound island for a medical emergency, fire or other type of rescue.
What we’d really like is a U.S. Navy SEAL series #7 - Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boat (click here for the videos—they are pretty cool). We will settle, though, for a more modest vessel kept on a trailer in a small building (yup, we need to fund that, too) behind the station for rapid deployment.
In addition to our weekly training that your donation would support, we have 2 members in basic fire training—an intensive course that is required to certify a firefighter. Emma is relatively new to the department and originally joined because of her interest in becoming an EMT. While pursuing that, she decided to also become a firefighter, as did Kathy, who is already doing a great job as an EMT. We are very grateful for their interest and their service.
We would be profoundly grateful for your interest and service as well. We welcome you to join the department in any capacity, regardless of age, experience or skill level.
Your interest may be to go into burning buildings or operate a pumper, refill SCBAs, hand out food and water or help in other ways on the fire ground. Maybe you’d prefer to be an EMT or otherwise assist on medical calls (I’m quite squeamish—so I stick to directing traffic on those).
You may want to help with anything from fundraising to maintenance: we can use any kind of help and you will be gratefully received as a new member. Just contact Chief Sam Friend (669-2469), me or anyone else in the department—or come by the firehouse. We are there just about every Tuesday at 18:00 (yes, you’ll even learn how to speak in 24-hour time).
Sound exhausting? It can be, but it is also a great feeling to help our neighbors when they need it. It is all worth it when our professionalism minimizes the impact of your medical event, accident or loss of property. We can do this best if you join your neighbors who have supported our annual appeal each year. Whatever you can offer will make a difference.
We obviously hope that you and your loved ones are never in a situation that requires our assistance. On behalf of Sam and all our dedicated volunteers, thanks for all that you can do to support our financial and staffing requirements.
President | Brooklin Volunteer Fire Company
Captain | Brooklin Fire Department