Report by Paula Antolini
September 20, 2018 7:12M EDT
Run Totals for Bethel Fire and EMS for the Month of August, and All About Volunteering
There were a total of 26 calls for the Fire Department for the month of August.
Structure Fire – 1
Automatic Alarms – 15
Motor Vehicle Accident – 2
Carbon Monoxide – 2
Natural Gas issues – 2
Unauthorized Burn – 2
Wires/transformer issues – 2
Bethel Fire was requested 2 times out of town for Mutual Aid
There were a total of 118 EMS calls for this past month.
Car 3’s Corner
This month I want to speak to you about volunteering. Why does anyone volunteer? What kind of a person volunteers? Have you thought about volunteering? Answers to those questions aren’t always easy to pin down. Some people want to volunteer but aren’t sure how it would affect their life, some are shy to join or start something new, some are interested but are uncertain about the unknown and they’re comfortable where they are. I myself needed a bit of a nudge (for which I am, and always will be very grateful to my wife for). Looking across the demographics of our department it would be hard to find a common denominator. We have had firefighters join in their 60’s and cadets that start as young as 16. We have had people from all across every economic, religious, and ethnic background. What I found when I joined was a second family, camaraderie, a lot of fun.
One of the questions on our application is “what is your reason for joining.” The most common answer has always been “I simply want to serve the town I live in, or give back to the community.” While I think this is certainly part of it, I know if you ask the same question of members that have been with us for a couple of years, just like anything else the answers may be quite different. You may get answers like gaining experience in a field they want to pursue as a paid career, the satisfaction that only comes from helping someone at the lowest time in their life, whether it be a fire or EMS related issue, the camaraderie that comes from working in a situation that is dangerous and trusting the team you’re with to have each others backs. Knowing that paid or not, we are participating in one of the most trusted and respected positions year in and year out (both Firefighters and EMS are in the top 5 most trustworthy and respected positions along with nurses, clergy, and military officers). In the end, we are all a bit of adrenaline junkies which is also part of it as well. Getting a call, or “toned out,” you go from the regular pace of life to realizing help is needed – and you and your crew go from 0 to 60 in a couple of seconds. When we get to the location or “on scene,” people are looking for us to handle their issue quickly, safely, and professionally. Volunteer or not, that’s the expectation for both Fire or EMS and has been for our department since 1831.
Could you join? Consider this. We have room for just about anyone and can work around even the most complicated of schedules. If you can’t do physical work, we have admin positions that are just as vital to the health and prosperity of the department as the active members. If you choose to be an active member, you will at our expense be trained as a firefighter, EMT or both. These are marketable skills. For those looking for benefits, we have a fitness room that is open 24 hours a day, a hall that is available for member use, a recreation room for member use, and my favorite part – a Fire Museum, which in my opinion is the best kept secret this side of the state. We have over ten current members that are State of Connecticut Fire and Emergency service instructors in the department that can work with your schedule to accomplish required mandatory training to get you up and running as quick as possible. We have recently designated members that will serve as mentors to help new members with any questions or concerns and help get folks acclimated to what we do here and how to go about it. For Cadets (members 16 to 18 years old), we have drills just with them on their own and they are welcome to participate in the regularly scheduled drills as well.
What do you think? You’ve read this far. Could you take the next step and give us a call? I can tell you from my own experience that the first time you help somebody, really help somebody when the need it – stopping a fire from destroying a home, getting someone back from a heart attack – there is no more satisfying or humbling feeling around, and that’s what keeps me coming back day after day and year after year. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Call us – here’s our number: 203-778-7414. Or come down to the department. We want to meet you.
Have a great month!
Stay Safe and Be Well
Brendan Patrick Ryan
2nd Assistant Chief
Bethel Volunteer Fire Department
Located on South Street