On October 3, 2019, Goshen Fire Company had the privilege to have Bruce Trego, State Fire Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, visit our Park Avenue fire station. During the visit Fire Company President Bob Fleming and Fire Chief Grant Everhart discussed how the support of the Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC) and Pennsylvania State Fire Academy (PSFA) have enabled the fire company to enhance our operational effectiveness, efficiency, and safety and our ability to continue to serve our community through the provision of high-quality fire, emergency medical services, and fire police services.
An example of this support is the 16-hour Rapid Intervention Team Exercise course that a cadre of six instructors from the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy delivered at Goshen several years ago. This course, which was scheduled at our request and hosted by the fire company, provided advanced classroom training and extensive hands-on training designed to provide participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to function effectively, efficiently, and safely as members of a rapid intervention team assigned to rescue emergency responders trapped during a structural fire response. Sixteen of our members completed this training and met the qualifications to serve on our Rapid Intervention Team. This sophisticated and expensive training was provided at no cost to the fire company. The lessons learned during this course were also invaluable as we revised our related response policies and procedures.
For a number of years Goshen Fire Company has received two separate grants each year through the Office of the State Fire Commissioner Grant Program. The Fire Grant has been used to make a number of important purchases including firefighting and rescue equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE). For several years this grant funded the purchase of specialized technical rescue equipment and related training in support of our technical rescue and rapid intervention capabilities. The most recent Fire Grant was used to purchase replacement fire hose and new nozzles. Over the years the EMS Grants have similarly been used to purchase necessary emergency medical services equipment and personal protective equipment. During Commissioner Trego’s visit we were able to discuss the equipment that we use that was purchased using the funding provided through the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.
This visit also provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges that all contemporary fire departments face in terms of recruiting and retaining personnel and securing necessary funding to support the essential services that we provide in a manner that not only meets but, ideally, exceeds the expectations of the community that we have the privilege to serve. We are genuinely grateful for the many ways that the Office of the State Fire Commissioner and Pennsylvania State Fire Academy support and assist us.