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Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company
Fleetwood Fire Company is located in Berks County Pennsylvania and proudly protects over 4,000 residents in our primary area, and over 10,000 residents in our mutual aid response area. The company operates out of one station that primarily provides fire, rescue, and EMS services to over 1200 homes, three schools and seven churches. A commercial district with 12 large businesses and numerous smaller companies are also in our area. The company is a public department whose members are mainly volunteer, but we employ full time ALS / BLS personnel. See Below for a more detailed history of the FVFC.
The fire department also has in place a junior FF program which starts at the age of 14
Recently the Fleetwood Fire Company has added another state certification: The Pennsylvania Voluntary Rescue Service Recognition (VRSR) Program. The VRSR program was developed through the collaboration of the Bureau of EMS, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner and the Rescue Task Force of the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Service Council (PEHSC) to formally recognize those services that meet the goals and successfully complete the recognition program.
Like to meet us? You have two ways:
1) Text while driving, like this person was, and very possibly you will meet us in an unfavorable way
2) Stop down any Tuesday night at our station. Applications for membership can also be obtained as well. We are always looking for volunteers who wish to make a difference in the community.
HISTORY OF THE FLEETWOOD VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY NO. 1
Firefighting in the early history of our borough was mainly without much organization and fires were usually fought by bucket brigades. For a number of years A.P. Merkel served as chief in the event that a fire broke out and they used a Neversink Hand Fire Engine purchased for $100 in 1878. This procedure was followed until the citizens had an organized volunteer fire-fighting group. At a meeting of the board of trade on July 31,1914, a committee of three was appointed to arrange for a meeting to organize a fire company. The committee was comprised of the following people: Calvin Miller, George A. Knoll and Samuel H. Rothermel. This committee then held a public meeting on August 7, 1914, in the town hall where Calvin Miller was appointed temporary chairman, and Samuel H. Rothermel, temporary secretary. Charles Madeira, Oliver B. Wanner and Samuel H. Rothermel were appointed to solicit subscriptions. The membership fee was fixed at $1.00 a year.
Full organization of the Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 was affected August 12, 1914, as follows: President C. A. Miller ; Vice pres. Charles Madeira: Recording Sec, Samuel H. Rothermel; Financial Sec., Calvin H. Adam; Treasurer, Warren G. Hartman; Trustees, A.P. Merkel - one year, H.C. Ulrich - two years, N.J. kutz - Three years; chief Charles I. Kieffer; foreman, Jonas Wahl; Assistant, H.J. Herbin; Hoseman, James W. Stump and Fred Stout; Engineers, Walter M. Bausher, Earl Moatz. Frank Slavin, Ruel Merkel, Robert Schlegel, Paul Stahler, Morris Folk, Oscar O. Dries, Elmer Schaffer, John Herring, Leon Fegley and William Seaman.
The president named the following committees: Membership, J.W. Stump, D.M. Herbein, Norman Ringler and Earl Moatz. Charter: N.J. Kutz, A.P. Merkel, H.C. Ulrich. Constitution and by - laws: Charles I. Kieffer, S.Y> Weidenhammer and Samuel H. Rothermel.
Subscription toward new fire fighting equipment received at this meeting totaled $228.00. A fire company fair was held in the town hall and approximately $1,000.00 was realized. The company became a member of the State Firemen’s Association in November 1919. Warren G. Hartman, the company’s first treasurer, died while serving in office. The first representatives to the Berks County Fire Zone were Calvin H. Adam and Calvin A. Miller. A Jeffery’s Truck, which was the company’s first fire fighting apparatus, was ordered on February 20, 1917 at a cost of $1957.00. The electric fire alarm was purchased on February 21, 1918. This was placed on the roof of the Kutz Building, now First National Bank Building. The convention of Berks County Firemen’s Association was entertained in Fleetwood for the first time in May 1919. In 1923 the membership of the company was 673, and the officers were as following: Pres: Calvin A. Miller Vice Pres: Charles Angstadt: Recording Secretary, Lewis M. Schirey: Assistant, Ervin Kalbach; Financial Secretary, Andrew S. Stump; treasurer, Joel B. Schaeffer; Trustees, Thomas Boyer, H.C. Ulrich, Lewis Schoedler and Chief Oscar O. Dries.
Fire Company Building Erected
The company purchased a lot on the corner of Washington and Franklin Streets in the Borough of Fleetwood and plans were made to erect a firemen’s headquarters, which was to include a spacious lobby and auditorium, and meeting rooms for the Borough Council meetings. The plans were made reality in 1928, when a building was erected at a cost of $65,000. The auditorium and the lobby have been the meeting places for many civic groups since that time. In 1925, a Seagrave Truck was bought at a cost of $12,500.00 and housing ceremonies were held at that time.
Due to the additional equipment the need for adequate housing of all the apparatus became necessary. Renovations to the original building were not feasible; as a result the Schlegel Building was purchased. The spaciousness of that building allowed for housing all the fire fighting equipment. The old engine room was used to house the ambulance and first aid section of the truck crew.
After outgrowing that building, a new building was needed and groundbreaking ceremonies for a new fire station were held on June 23, 1981 and actual construction began in August of that year. The cost of the new building was $226,000, which was offset greatly with the help from community volunteer trades people doing some of the work. The building consists of an apparatus bay, ambulance bay, meeting room, kitchen, dayroom, officers and men’s and ladies’ bunkrooms with separate bathrooms.
A truck crew was organized in 1937, which was known as the Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company Truck Crew. The President was LeRoy Oswald: Secretary, William Merkel. Other officers were elected at a later date. This crew was the firefighting force in Fleetwood.
In July 1974, twenty-five new home monitors were purchased at a cost of $3,947. Then in August of 1975, with the donation of $9,270, the first pagers for the company were purchased, the money being donated by the Fleetwood Council Community Organization (F.C.C.O). Currently, each fire and EMS person is issued a fire and/or EMS pager.
The Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company Truck Crew is a group of men and women formed to do the firefighting, rescue and EMS services for Fleetwood and surrounding areas. There are approximately 70 active members in the crew, and all of them deserve a great deal of credit for the service they render. All these men and women have gone through extensive training in fire suppression, auto extrication, general rescue, EMS (first aid), hazardous materials, aerial operations, and fire police duties.
The Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Truck Crew also takes pride in being active in the community by sponsoring the annual Easter egg-hunt, assisting in traffic control during special events, funding local youth teams, assisting with the Prom Night Out program, DARE, and providing fire prevention programs at the local schools.
In addition to the training and serving the community during emergencies, the truck crew is also responsible for fund raising to ensure adequate funds are available to maintain the apparatus and purchase the necessary equipment. These fund raisers include: Easter Flower sale, The Memorial Day car show and the firemen’s carnival which are both held in the Fleetwood Park, the ambulance chicken BBQ and golf tournament, as well as the semi-annual basket bingo and $20 ticket raffles. Also, we have started a pilot program to raise funds by doing youth birthday parties at our station. These events, as well as the generous support from the Fleetwood Borough Council, the local businesses, and the people of Fleetwood ensure we have adequate monies to fund our operation.
Recently we have expanded our membership roster to include 14 year-olds as junior members .
The Fleetwood Vol. Fire Co. Truck Crew takes great pride in the equipment and strives to maintain state-of-the art equipment at all times. This equipment includes a thermal imaging camera, the “Jaws-of-Life” Hurst rescue equipment, and the newest firefighting gear and air packs with integrated personal safety devices. The current fleet consists of:
Tower Platform - A 2004 LTI 100’ mid-mount with a 2000 gpm pump, 4 pre-connected hand lines, 800’ of 5” supply hose, and a 10KW generator, and 350 gallons of water.
Pumper – 1996 Luverne / Freightliner with 2000’ 5” hose, 6 pre-connects, 1000 gallon tank, and a 1250 pump.
Rescue – A 1999 Amtech / Freightliner 14KW generator, pre-connected Hurst tools, a portable Hurst unit, rescue airbags, a 6000 watt light tower, and it is a state certified QRS unit with limited transport capability.
Haz-Mat Trailer – Part of the Berks County Haz Mat task force. This trailer has 500 gallons of foam and other supplies needed in case of a large hazardous material incident in the county.
Ambulances: 2003 and a 1996 Horton box ambulances, equipped with the most state of the art equipment including AED’s . We are anticipating the arrival of a Ford F450 / Horton 4x4 ambulance in the next few weeks to replace the 1996 unit.
Specialty Cart: A Cushman golf cart equipped to carry one patient on a litter. Used for EMS standbys and special events.
History of The Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company Ambulance
In December, 1951, then Fire Chief Lester “Legger” Moyer, seeing the need for a community ambulance service, presented a proposal to the Fleetwood Fire Company to raise money for a ambulance. The proposal was approved, hence the birth of the Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company Ambulance. By March, 1952, they had received $956.00 in donations. A letter to inform the community of the fund drive to purchase an ambulance was sent in April. The truck crew held a benefit movie in May to help raise funds. In June, Mr. Elmer Rhodes turned his Gulf Service Station over to the truck crew for a day, with the proceeds to be used for the purchase of an ambulance. By July almost $5,000 had been raised. They chose a Buick Flexible Ambulance at a cost of $7,600.00. It was delivered in August and dedicated by rev. J. Paul Kehm on August 23, 1952.
The crew’s first big job came when the Honorable Judge Robert Mayes asked them to help transfer patients from the county home to Berks Heim. In September, 1952, the ambulance went on twenty four hour on-call status. By November there had been three ambulance calls. It has been onward and upward from there.
In order to maintain this enthusiasm and to serve our community better, we have to keep our equipment and training up to date. The Eastern Pennsylvania Emergency Medical Services Council helped to fund needed equipment. In 1978 the crew also wanted to achieve voluntary state certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In order to attain this certification, we had to meet the criteria set forth by the Department of Health in regard to equipment and training of personnel. With certification as our goal, in September, 1978 we bought a Ford/Horton box style ambulance, which meets the state guidelines. The residents of Fleetwood, the Pennsylvania Emergency Medical Services, and the borough made this purchase possible. Through their combined efforts, we received a $10,000.00 state grant toward the $31,800.00 cost of the new ambulance.
In 1992, seeing an increase calls, a 1992 International/Horton Ambulance was purchased. This unit increased our Ambulance fleet to two. When we began in that November of 1952, we had three ambulance calls and fifteen first-aiders. This past year we responded to 856 ambulance calls and have thirty-eight state certified personnel. In 1952 we had a Buick ambulance equipped with an E&J resuscitator, bandages, and some board splints. Today we have two state licensed ambulances with onboard oxygen unit, portable and permanent suctioning units, a portable CPR bag, a well-equipped trauma kit, modern splinting devices, three AED’s and the latest equipment for monitoring vital signs. In 1952, with the limited training that was available at that time, we were just movers of the sick and injured. Today we are capable of supporting life and preventing further injury until we can transfer a patient to medical facilities. As you can see, we have come a long way in fifty-two years. We could not have done it without community support. We wish to thank the Fleetwood Borough Council, the Supervisors of Richmond and Ruscombmanor Townships, the residents of the Fleetwood area and the business community for their continuing support. All of these people enable us to continue to provide state of the art ambulance service in our area.