Volunteer firefighters support the community in so many ways besides fighting fires. This weekend was filled with examples, from assisting with set up at Friday night to participating in Saturday.
“The true spirit of a firefighter is giving above and beyond to the community,” said East Farms Fire Department Chief Russ Nelson. “The 50 volunteers at East Farms Fire Department carry pagers at all times to respond to every medical and fire call — any time, every day. They are also always out in the community, helping at events, educating residents about fire safety and much more.”
East Farms Fire serves an area that has seen tremendous commercial growth in recent years. It covers , Interstate-84 and Route 9, several hotels, medical office buildings and assisted living developments, as well as residential neighborhoods.
Calls for medical assistance or to respond to fires or hazardous materials spills can come in from the 911 dispatch center at any time. Of the 1,200 calls the department gets each year, about 70 percent are medical calls.
So what was this Friday night into Saturday like at the station? The first thing Chief Nelson and Lt. Shawn Curtis did when they arrived at the station after work was to provide gear and instructions to a new firefighter, Jesse Garrard, a 2010 graduate of .
Next it was off to the high school in two trucks full of volunteer firefighters to help set up tents, ropeways and tables for Saturday's Relay For Life.
Back at the firehouse, there is always equipment to maintain and records to manage on the response management software.
Calls for medical assistance came in during the night, yet at 8:30 a.m. the volunteers were back out at setting up for Public Safety Day, while also covering the village for Farmington Fire Department which was out participating in a live burn training event.
The department also had a team walking in Relay for Life.
Sarrena Lombard, a new EFFD volunteer firefighter and EMT recently transferred to the area from Syracuse, is one of six women in the department. Greeting visitors to the fire trailer Saturday morning, she echoed the chief's sentiments.
“People join fire departments because they want to provide service to their community,” she said.
Anyone interested in becoming a Farmington firefighter can get information on the Volunteer Fire Fighter web page or call or visit a fire station.