Written by John Grosskopf, Fire Chief, Beaver Volunteer Fire Department
The Beaver Volunteer Fire Department provides vital services to the community. With the collective efforts of our firefighters and administrative staff, neighboring Fire Departments, and the citizens of our community, we will continue to ensure that BVFD meets the challenges that are a part of sustaining a first-rate municipal Fire Department.
COVID-19 restrictions hampered much of the Fire Department’s outreach efforts in 2020. “Throughout the year, firefighters ordinarily visit schools and day care facilities to provide education on fire prevention and life safety. Our biggest fundraiser of the year was canceled, however, we did a virtual 5k race to continue the 19-year tradition. We are very grateful to our sponsors that continued to support the Fire Department. COVID-19 abruptly stopped all public events, including the Fire Department’s Open House. However, we will resume these activities when it is safe to do so.”
In 2020, the BVFD members put in 239 hours of vehicle and building maintenance. They completed 1366 hours of mandatory in-house training and extra training to accomplish various certification levels. We have two members participating in the EMT class at CCBC and another who is a paid firefighter for Shell Polymer. All three have accumulated over 600 hours of training which will help benefit our department.
Public Education and Public Safety – The Fire Prevention Group promotes messages about fire and life safety throughout the community. The BVFD develops and implements programs that teach children and adults about fire and life safety, as well as emergency prevention. This is accomplished through public appearances, demonstrations, and station tours. In 2020, 40 hours were spent teaching fire safety. COVID-19 restrictions, as well as a lack of help, hampered the program. We will now work with Brighton Twp. Fire Department to continue it.
We responded to 149 calls in 2020. We currently have 28 active firefighters. We also added 5 new members to our roster. Recruiting continues to be a priority in 2021.
We were totally unprepared for the pandemic that started in the middle of March. Meetings and training were put on hold until the middle of May. We had minimal PPE and found it hard to acquire certain items at first. Donations of masks, hand sanitizer and neoprene gloves made it possible for us to safely respond to any type of emergency. We developed a Standard Operating Procedure on how we would respond to fire calls and various emergency situations. Each vehicle was sanitized before returning to service.
In keeping with our Mission, Vision, and Core Values, the BVFD consistently demonstrates a personal commitment to protect the quality of life and property in Beaver. As we enter 2021, the citizens of Beaver may continue to count on our exceptional dedication to the community’s safety and protection – our highest priorities. The members of the BVFD work tirelessly every day, serving and protecting their community. They deserve to be recognized for their outstanding contributions to our community.
Thank you for allowing me to continue to serve as your Fire Chief. I do not take my accountability and responsibility lightly, and constantly strive to meet and exceed your expectations. It is truly an honor to serve you and look forward to another successful year of accomplishments and progress.
Volunteer firefighters are a representative cross-section of the American population, young and old, male and female. Individuals join a Fire Department for a wide variety of reasons.
Some initially join for the excitement and adventure. The adrenaline rush of racing to the scene of an emergency on a 30-ton fire engine with red lights flashing and siren screaming provides a stimulus to the very center of the soul. The thrill of facing danger and conquering the flames may be irresistible. Others are seeking a challenge or recognize the need and join to serve their communities and help people in distress.
Recruiting and retention of volunteers has become a major concern in many areas because the work is so demanding. The Fire Department has to compete with every other activity and pastime for the time that individual members can devote to it. The initial and ongoing training requirements are extremely demanding, and the firefighter must be prepared to respond instantly whenever the alarm is sounded, no matter what is happening at that moment or what else was planned.
The passion is eventually transformed into a mature lifelong commitment to remain a firefighter, and the adrenaline rush is replaced by the satisfaction of “service to others.”
If you are interested in helping to protect your community and be a part of a team steeped in over 185 years of tradition, we encourage you to join our Fire Department. We meet every Monday at our station, and we challenge you to help make a difference. Contact the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department at 724-773-6713 or visit our website www.beavervfd.org to learn more.