Become a firefighting hero

By BETH BRELJE | Published: NOVEMBER 23, 2011

An eye catching sign on Milford Road, “Action heroes needed,” recruits volunteers for Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Wikipedia defines an action hero as “A character, usually a protagonist, in an action-adventure novel, film, television show, or game.”

But this is real life, making the tasks these volunteers carry out far more intense than a book or movie.

Responding to fires, vehicle crashes, drowning and other emergencies, they are ready to spring out of work, church and birthday parties without hesitation
They sleep with scanners, if they sleep at all.
They go out in all weather, and respond to all people—the unfortunate accident victims, and the stupid risk takers.
They are respectful, keeping gawkers away from the most painful sites, and comforting victims on some of the worst days of their lives.
They are strong, climbing ladders with heavy equipment into the heat of hell.
They are scientists, predicting how smoke and flames will react and noticing where debris will fall.
They are tidy, meticulously wrapping up spent hose, cleaning equipment and shining trucks.
And they do it for free.

There are a number of tasks in addition to fire fighters who work at the epicenter of emergency. Fire police who direct traffic and people to handle fund raisers are always needed.

The club is open. If you want to be in the company of people like this, reach out to your local fire department and become a hero.- See more at:


Say you don't want to "fight" the fires. Not everyone wants to put themselves in harms way. But, they still want to help and give back to their community. Don't worry, it takes many types of people to run a successful department. There are plenty of other positions and ways to help.

FIREFIGHTER:  Volunteer fire company members that are well trained in the extinguishment of fires, vehicle extrication, ice rescue, and fire safety. 

EXTERIOR FIREFIGHTERS are members that are trained and qualified to fight fires from outside the structure. This could range from running for tools, setting up ladders, stretching hose, applying water to the fire from the exterior. To pumping the Truck.

INTERIOR FIREFIGHTERS are members that are trained and qualified to fight the fire from the outside and to enter the structure and fight fire from inside the structure when necessary. 

FIRE POLICE:  Volunteer fire company members who receive sworn police powers, special training, and support firefighting efforts at moderate to major incidents. In addition to securing firefighting equipment, incident and fire scenes, and the station itself, Fire police perform traffic and crowd control.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS: Volunteer fire company members  who are exempt from the duties of Active membership with the exception that they may be expected to serve whenever called upon by the Chief. Associate members participate in fund raising & other non emergency duties of the Active membership. This includes but is not limited to president, vice president, trustee and active commitee members.

LADIES AUXILIARY:  Volunteer fire company members that respond to fire calls to provide our firefighters with the liquids and nourishment needed to help maintain their strength and stamina while they perform the difficult and dangerous duties of firefighting.  These members will also assist our firefighters, the department, and our community in anyway we can whether it be helping at fire scenes, raising funds or helping with community events.

Have you ever thought of becoming a volunteer firefighter? The Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company is always looking for people who are interested in becoming part of our team. Enjoy a rewarding experience. All while serving the community you live in and protecting your neighbors. Don't just make new friendships, become part of a "family". No experience is needed... all volunteers will receive gear and training required for the job. .

So, What Does It Mean To Be A "Volunteer" Firefighter?

So, what does it mean to you to be a volunteer firefighter?  Here are some of my observations and opinions on the subject.

First of all, it means that you take pride in the service you provide.  Retired Fire Chief Rick Lasky has said that being a firefighter is not a job, but it’s a calling.  He is absolutely right!  Many of us have dreamed about being a firefighter since we were small children.  Riding on the fire truck, wearing the gear, and helping your neighbor in their greatest time of need.  You must be dedicated which means that you answer every call for service not because you feel obligated to, not because you need to meet an organizational quota or requirement, but simply because you want to.  Because you cannot imagine doing anything else.

Second, it means that nobody motivates you to be the best firefighter other than you.  To be able to dress out on your PPE faster, advance that attack line better, throw ladders better, and doing every job or task in this business better than the last time you did it and constantly working to make it better still.  We all know that there are regulations and standards that state what the expectations are for our performance as firefighters and those standards are very important!  However, more than anything your ability to perform your job with the highest degree of confidence and safety so that you can make a difference is what counts the most. It’s all about the basics!

Third, it means that you do all of these things because they are important and the right thing to do.  Being a firefighter is not about “what’s in it for me”!  The gratification that we get by receiving an award at a banquet or a thank you from the public for a job well done is always an honor and is an indication of how we are doing.  But what should drive everyone in this business is standing up for what’s right, doing the right thing, and helping people who need our help.

What does it mean to be a volunteer firefighter?  It means answering the call.  Not because of the pay or because of what it may do for you.  But, because it is what you have been called to do and you want to do it more than anything.   It means knowing your tasks so well that you do not even have to think about doing the tasks, they just happen because you know what needs to be done.  It means knowing the basics because no matter how difficult or technical a call is, the basics will pull you through.  It means doing it because you care.  It means doing it because you love what you do so you do what you love.

A volunteer firefighter is no different then those who get paid to do this job.  In fact, when you think about those who work in the paid fire services, they too are technically a “volunteer” because nobody held a gun to their head and told them they have to do that job.  Every firefighter must remember that the NFPA standards do not differentiate between paid firefighters and volunteer firefighters in relation to who has to comply with what standards.  Every firefighter is expected to do the job safely, quickly, and efficiently so that lives can be saved, property can be salvaged, and our communities are protected.  It means that YOU are doing the very best job possible and doing so gives you the greatest feeling in the world.  Pay or not.

Once you know the job and the responsibilities, you have to be dedicated to answer the calls whenever they come in.  Day, Night, Winter, Summer, Christmas, Thanksgiving, always.  Not because you have to, but because YOU WANT TO! Because you take pride in being a firefighter and you are dedicated to the service.

So I challenge each of you who read this.  Ask yourself why I am a firefighter?  It doesn’t matter paid or volunteer.    Be honest with yourself.  If you truly are honest about your answer, maybe you have the right answer.  Maybe you have the drive, the pride to be the best because you want to be.  If not, start looking for ways to find that motivation. Take a class, teach some new recruits, spend some time at the station making something better.  If you still can’t find that motivation, find another occupation, hobby, or whatever you call it.  The fire service and your community doesn’t need people like you.  Nothing personal, just business.

If you are not currently a firefighter, does doing the things that I am talking about here make sense to you?  Do the things I describe here excite you and make you think about becoming a firefighter?  If so, your community needs you.  Your neighbors need you.  Firefighters in the volunteer fire forces are struggling to answer calls and keep the community protected.  Is there sacrifice in being a firefighter?  Absolutely.  There will be much time away from family and friends as you learn this craft, and become proficient at your tasks. You will miss baseball games, birthday parties, Christmas morning.  Not every one… but certainly some of them.  However, there is no greater reward than helping your neighbor and having the honor of  them giving you a simple “thank you”.  No amount of money can buy how that feels. If you want to learn more, stop by your local fire house and find out how you can become one of us.  It will be the best decision of your life.

Many times, I have heard the comment “They’re just a bunch of volunteers” as if that is some excuse for substandard performance.  NO WAY!  Volunteers do things because they want to.  Not because they have to.  Therefore, be a volunteer. a firefighter!  Take pride in what you do.  Be the best you can be everyday.

​Taken from article: So what does it mean to be a “Volunteer Firefighter”?

​May 22, 2012

​​​Thanks to Benjamin Franklin, who organized the nation’s first volunteer fire company (VFC) in Philadelphia in 1736, volunteer firefighters continue to respond to fire and other emergencies in Pennsylvania and the nation. This 279-year-old tradition, however, may be in jeopardy as increasing job demands, family commitments and other factors hinder volunteerism.  After careful research and analysis it was concluded that recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters is a national problem and not unique to rural Pennsylvania.(

Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company