The Orange Volunteer Fire Department Station 2 firehouse, 355 Boston Post Road was open and ready to welcome guests on Sunday at 10 a.m.
In preparation for Volunteer Firefighters Day, the men and women washed all the trucks and cleaned up the firehouse.
The volunteers were neatly dressed and ready to give tours, show off the trucks and gear and maybe even recruit a few new members.
Sadly, the weather was sunny, warm and beautiful. People were gardening, playing ball at Old Tavern Park, flying kites, and walking the track at the Orange Fairgrounds. Nothing was further from their minds than an indoor activity.
A table was set up with some gear, pamphlets, plastic fire hats for the kids…but hardly anyone came. Still, the volunteers, who are on call 24/7, stayed at the firehouse until the scheduled 2 p.m. event closing time.
One little girl chatted it up and charmed firefighter Lisa Kaplan, and that alone made the day worthwhile for at least one firefighter.
The importance of fire volunteers
These men and women are highly trained and have the same skills as the paid firefighters in neighboring cities and towns. When the alarm sounds on Christmas, Thanksgiving, The Fourth of July, Superbowl Sunday or any of the other 361 days or nights of the year, they stop whatever they are doing and respond. They save the town money and depend on the support of the community through various fundraisers to purchase the vehicles and equipment needed to best serve the town and help save lives and property in emergency situations.
More than eighty percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are volunteers, and the majority of fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage. Local fire departments need volunteers of all skill levels and abilities, people willing and able to respond to emergencies whenever called upon.
Volunteer Firefighter Day was part of Everyday Hero CT, a program dedicated to increasing the number of volunteer firefighters throughout the state. A partnership of the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Everyday Hero CT campaign is a two-year Volunteer Workforce Solutions (VWS) initiative designed to address the shortage of volunteer firefighters in Connecticut. It is helping achieve a viable and sustainable volunteer firefighter workforce for fire departments throughout Connecticut. Everyday Hero CT is funded by a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awarded to the CFCA by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop a model to enhance the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.