Volunteer Firefighters Host Statewide Open House

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carIn an effort to recruit volunteers and educate the public about the role that volunteer firefighters play in protecting Delawareans, fire companies up and down the state opened their doors to community members on Saturday May 14. Each Volunteer station in the state opened to the public and offered a family-friendly event.

“Volunteer firefighters are on the front lines of educating, preparing, and protecting our State’s people and property,” said Joe Zeroles, President of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association. “We want to open our doors and give the public the opportunity to see firsthand just what we do and invite them to volunteer with us to serve within their own communities.”

As the population of volunteer firefighters in Delaware ages, companies across the state are hoping to recruit new volunteers to take the reins and lead in serving their communities. “We want to take action in recruiting these individuals so that we can sustain the Volunteer Fire Service to continue benefitting all of Delaware.” President Zeroles said, adding that companies also actively seek volunteers of all ages, from 15 and up, with all skill sets. “If you want to use your specific skills and experience to serve your community making a difference in your own neighborhood, we are the place to be.”

Milford has had a fire company since January 26, 1802 when a law passed by the General Assembly allowed Milford to incorporate a company in the city. In 1869, the town formed the Milford Hook and Ladder Company, and the company was equipped with a hand-drawn hook and ladder truck from Rumsey Company of New York. The first truck was housed in a building located behind what was then W.A. Humes Hardware Store, now home to the Mispillion Art League.

In 1918, the Milford community was rocked by news that one of their own, Paris T. Carlisle IV, had been killed during World War I near the Mense River in France. In his honor, the fire company was renamed Carlisle Fire Company on November 12, 1918. In 1925, a new firehouse was dedicated at the corner of Church and Southeast Second Streets in Milford. It was considered one of the most elegant buildings on the Eastern shore and many banquets, dances and community events were held in the large banquet facilities on the upper floors. The current firehouse, which is located on Northwest Front Street, was completed in 1978 to meet the growing needs of the fire company. Today, the Carlisle Fire Company has approximately 94 members and twelve pieces of equipment.

Whether an individual volunteers to fight fires or provide emergency medical services, they will be making a commitment of time to your local Fire Company and community. In any given week volunteers will spend some time in training, attending meetings, maintaining equipment, and a variety of other duties in addition to going out on calls. While there is no limit to the amount of time individuals can give, an average weekly commitment can be five to eight hours. There are plenty of other ways to volunteer as well. Administrative staff help run the corporate side of the Fire Company, Fire Police help with traffic control and scene safety, and Auxiliary members provide valuable support both in front of and behind the scenes. A typical Fire Company is comprised of volunteers of numerous and varying skills, backgrounds, and interests. There are roles, jobs, and things to do available for almost everyone.

“Auxiliaries across the state have come a long way since the first organization was formed in 1937. Today, we have many auxiliaries who are successful in raising thousands of dollars for their fire companies,” said Mary Frances Eisenbrey, President of the Ladies Auxiliary Association of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association. “We welcome anyone interested in helping us work together with the fire companies for the good of all Delawareans.”

For more information on the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, members of the public can visit www.Firefighter.Delaware.gov or visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FirefighterDelawareGov. For additional information on Carlisle Fire Company in Milford, DE, individuals are encouraged to visit http://www.carlisle42.com.