Slow Down. Move Over. Be Safe
With the months of October and November comes a lot to be aware about! On top of the holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving and daylight savings within those months, there are two major items that come up in these months that should always be a priority: Fire Safety Week and National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week.
Fire Safety Week is always held during the week of the 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire which began on October 8th, 1871 and killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed over 17,000 Structures. Fire safety week, even though it has since passed and is only one week a year, should always be practiced. Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, charged and ready fire extinguishers, always keep your cooking attended and making a “kid-safe” area while cooking with hot food or drink preparation, and have and practice a home fire escape plan! These are just a few conversation points that you can have with your family.
National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week is coming up November 9th to November 15, 2020. As with years in the past and incidents still constantly happening nationwide, the stress on 6 key words are imposed more this week; those are Slow Down. Move Over. Be Safe. Each driver and passenger on the roads have their role to play in this matter. If you see emergency personnel in the roadway or on the shoulders of a road, slow down and move over. This goes for more than just police, fire and EMS personnel. This extends to construction workers, tow truck operators, DOT Personnel, etc. Do you part in helping to lessen these types of incidents and tragedies. Slow down. Move over. Be Safe!
Chief Kevin Peak
We’ve come a long way baby
Back around the year 1916 a group of people gathered in a garage with one thing in mind. That was the common interest of protecting our town from the effects of uncontrolled fire. These were to become the first members of Delran Fire Company #1. It was hard during the first years begging a penny here a dime there to raise money to purchase equipment. The members today will never know or even truly understand how hard those first members had to work to make it happen. Today the Delran Board of Fire Commissioners provide us with the very best of equipment to do our jobs efficiently, effectively, and safely.
Back in the early days the male only members, would along with their wives and families held dinners to raise money to buy trucks, coats and boots. Pictured are some of the tickets sold for the dinners.
Talk about hygiene, back then, there was no gear for each member. There was maybe five sets of boots and coats hanging on the fire truck that was a “first come first get” situation. You were lucky if your size 8 foot wasn’t in a size 12 boot or worst going the other way.
Back then, it was considered unladylike for women to partake in the business of firefighting. So, for the ladies there was the Ladies Auxiliary. They worked harder than the men baking and cooking goods to sell to the public to help raise money. Today, however, women are a very big part of the fire service. Many proving better than the men. In fact, Delran Fire Department can boast that we had one of the first female Fire Chief in the State of New Jersey.
Donations like the dinners, where a big part of how the Bridgeboro Fire Company got started. But as the town grew and the demands of what the fire service was requested to do, also grew, it became harder and harder to provide the equipment needed on donations alone. Many of the then growing population of Delran were people coming from the cities, they had never heard of “VOLUNTEER” Fire Departments and would look at the members crossed eyed when they came door to door begging for money. So, in the late 1960’s early 1970’s the two fire companies in town got together and proceeded to form The Delran Fire Commission to oversee the collection of tax money to provide the residents with the services that were needed and in doing so became one fire department with two stations.
Today, Delran Fire Department is called upon to respond to all kinds of incidents. Of course, we still are equipped and trained to fight fire but we also have to equip and train to respond to accidents, Hazardous Materials incidents, rescues of all sorts, and yes, even the occasional old “cat in the tree”.
Firefighters today spend countless hours training preparing to respond to any call for help. We take pride in being able to figure out the toughest of problems. In the first years of the fire companies, they maybe ran 50 calls a year. In the last few years that number has grown to 600 to 700 calls a year. Meanwhile the number of people volunteering has declined, putting that added load on the ones that do. Meaning that the members of both stations leave whatever they are doing, any time, day or night to answer the call of duty. Sometimes two or three times a day. Leaving their own families in the middle of special events or in the middle of storms to respond to the calls for help from the town folk. In bad storms these members have been known to live at the firehouse for days and only go home to change clothes and take a shower.
So yes, we have come a long way baby! The founding fathers of our century old station would never imagine the duties and responsibilities that are place on the fire service today. They would have never thought of us responding to the countless fire alarms and CO alarms we respond to every year. But I know, as far as we have come today, tomorrow is what we as the Delran Fire Department will prepare for.
Thank you and may you find yourself better tomorrow than you are today.
Battalion Chief Forman M. Shemeley III
On Monday October 26th, the Delran Fire Department gathered for a rescue tool demo, put on by ESI. We are always interested in learning about the tools we work with everyday along with what we may purchase in the near future.
Josh Stellwag, Battalion Chief/EMT
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