BUSINESS

Rescue Hose Company first class, but needs volunteers

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Firefighters Jason Barkdoll, Darwin Fleagle, Tyler Myers and Bryant Gladfelter are the next generation of volunteers. They are first responders. The Rescue Hose Company can use more, as well as people for behind-the-scenes support.

The year 2014 was the busiest in 10 for Greencastle Rescue Hose Co. No. 1. The calls for help totalled 2,024. Of those, 665 were for fire and rescue, and 1,359 for the ambulance.

It wasn’t an overwhelming increase in any one category, said fire chief Kevin Barnes. But the need for services was higher for medical assists, vehicle collisions and downed wires from storms.

“That said,” Barnes commented, “one area that did jump from 2013 to 2014 was requests for assistance from other departments, through mutual aid.”

There were 65 more such calls, at 200, than last year.

Barnes attributed that demand on the Greencastle crew to a reduction of volunteers in the region. Departments would therefore ask for the partner aid on the initial dispatch, to make sure there were enough apparatus and people on the scene.

Dearth of volunteers

The scarcity of volunteers is of some concern. RHC has many members who pay modest yearly dues. The number of people on call for emergency situations is only about 30. The rest are considered active if they attend meetings, hold an office, serve on committees or help with fundraisers. All are necessary.

Barnes understood why people may not have joined the department. They were busy, and training requirements were an obstacle. That was only part of the rationale.

“Just as there are multiple reasons that people commit to volunteering, there are just as many or more why they don’t,” he said. “There is a commitment.”

People interested in becoming a first responder receive training through the department and other venues. Any cost is reimbursed. There is a need for fire apparatus and ambulance operators, and fire police.

One misconception was that everyone had to be a firefigher or ride the ambulance, Barnes continued. There were plenty of other ways to help out, such as in administrative or support positions.

RHC welcomed people to consider becoming a volunteer for the organization. It states on its website: “You decide how much time you can spend helping your neighbors. Volunteers are needed to help with fundraising events, provide fire and emergency medical services, or just to share their expertise with others. Training is available through the department, and the confidence and experience you gain here will serve you well no matter what your occupation. Interested? Stop by the fire station or contact a member about current opportunities with the Rescue Hose Company — YOUR volunteer fire department, providing fire, rescue, and emergency medical services with professionalism.”

The RHC phone number is 717-597-8489.

Call 911

People should not hesitate to dial 911 in an emergency. The department wants to save lives and property.

“Early notification allows early response, improves survivability and limits additional delay-related damage,” said Barnes.

He pushed for working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, small things that still made a big difference.

Greencastle Rescue Hose Co. No. 1 can use volunteers in many capacities. Consider helping out if you have experience in any of the following:

Sales

Personnel resourcing

Administrative/office management

Financial oversight

Historical preservation

Acquisitions and procurement

Creativity

Tracking/inventory

Food services

Equipment maintenance

Training

Public relations

Free time

And everyone can do these:

Make a donation

Respond to June funding appeal

Attend fundraising events (carnival, Minstrel Show, golf tournament, Bingo)