FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Are there any paid Firefighters? There are no paid firefighters. The Valatie Fire Department has always been 100% volunteer.
2. Are more volunteers needed? Yes. There is a significant need for more volunteers. The department is facing a severe shortage of volunteers in the near future as a significant number of older members are expected to retire from active firefighting. Also, during weekdays there is a special need for additional volunteers since most of the members of the department work outside of the community.
3. What are the requirements for membership? Members need to be between the ages of 16 and 65 to join. Members transferring from another fire department may be as old as 60.
4. Where does the Valatie Fire Department protect? The Valatie Fire Department provides primary fire fighting protection to the Village of Valatie and the Valatie Fire Protection District. The Valatie Fire Department also provides mutual aid to neighboring fire districts.
5. What is the Lafayette Chemical Company? The Lafayette Chemical Company is the social organization of the Valatie Fire Department. Founded in 1837, the Lafayette Chemical Company is one of the two fire companies that provided fire protection to the Village. The other company, the Valatie Hose Company, disbanded in 19____. The company organizes various community and social activities including the annual spaghetti dinner , banquet, picnic, and more.
6. What classes or courses do I have to take to be a member? Firefighters are required to successfully complete the Firefighter One course or Scene Support within two years of joining the Department. This course is offered through the County a number of times a year. It meets two times per week for three hours. There is no charge for the course. Many other courses are offered through the County including Advanced Firefighting, Emergency Vehicle Operator Course, Firefighter Safety and Survival and Rescue Operations. Firefighters are not required to take these additional classes but are encouraged to do so.
7. What training is required? Besides taking the Firefighter One Course, new members will be trained by the Department in the Department's Standard Operating Procedures. There are monthly drills and semi-annual trips to the County Fire Training Tower. There also is an annual OSHA training course and Hazardous Materials First Respondents Refresher course.
8. How many fire calls are there each year? The Valatie Fire Department receives an average of 115 to 125 emergency and fire calls each year.
9. When do most calls come in? Fire calls come in at all different times. Statistically, calls are equally distributed between daytime (6:00 am to 6:00 pm) and evening (6:00 pm to 6:00 am).
10. Do I have to go to all fire calls? Members are not required to respond to every emergency or fire call. They are expected to respond to all calls that they can. Most Firefighters are able to respond to at least half of all calls. Members are required in their first year to attend 25% of fire calls, drills, meetings and details. After their first year they must attend 25% of the total of these events.
11. Are all "fire calls" really fires? Not all "fire calls" are fires. Besides all sorts of fires, the Department also responds to car accidents, fire and carbon monoxide alarm activations, downed wires and assists the Valatie Rescue Squad on some occasions.
12. Do I have to perform interior firefighting? Not all Firefighters are interior firefighters. Approximately one half of the Valatie Fire Department Members are interior or class "A" Firefighters. To become a class "A" Firefighter members need training with air packs and have at least eight hours of time actually using an air pack in drill and at an incident. Besides interior Firefighting there are many other jobs to be done. Other Firefighters drive the trucks,operate the pumps, direct traffic, maintain water supply, etc.
13. Are they any limitations on what firefighters between the ages of 16 and 18 can do? Members who are less than 18 years of age are not allowed to perform interior firefighting, operate power tools or operate apparatus.They are allowed to respond to calls so long as they are not in school at the time of the call.
14. Do I have to drive a fire engine? You do not need to drive a fire engine. However, members are encouraged to learn. The Chief Officers are responsible for driver training. Drivers are qualified on one piece of apparatus at a time. When a Firefighter is ready to learn, they may request to be trained in driving. No special drivers license is required.
15. How will I know if there is a fire call? Firefighters are provided with a Motorola voice pager that will alert them to fire calls.
16. Do I have to pay for anything? Members do not have to pay anything to be a member. All equipment and training is provided free of charge.
17. Where do I get my fire fighting equipment? The Department provides Firefighters with their personal equipment. This includes helmet, turnout coat, bunker pants, boots, Nomex hood, firefighting gloves, overhaul gloves and pager.
18. What benefits are there? Firefighters are covered by Worker's Compensation Insurance at the maximum rate. The Company also provides disability and life insurance.
19. What happens if I am injured on a fire call? Firefighters who are injured on a fire call are covered by the Village for medical expenses. If a Firefighter is out of work because of a Department related injury, they are covered by the Company's Disability Insurance and the Village's Worker's Compensation Insurance.
20. How safe is the Fire Department? The Department has an outstanding safety record. The Department compiles with applicable OSHA safety and training requirements. Firefighters are provided with complete personal protective equipment. The Department S-O-P-S are geared towards Firefighters' safety as a top priority.
21. Are there any parades, and do I have to go to them? The Company participates in a number of parades each year. These are part of the proud tradition of the volunteer fire service. The parades include the Kinderhook Town Memorial Day Parade, the Chatham Fair Parade and the County Convention Parade. Attendance at parades is encouraged but not required. The Company provides Members with their parade uniform.
22. What drills are there? There are one or two drills each month. During summers there are two drills per month. Drills include classroom training as well as hands on exercises. Many drills are at the firehouse or in the Village. At least twice per year the Department trains at the County Training Tower, where live burn training is held.
23. What meetings are there? There are monthly Company meetings where company business is transacted. There also are mandatory Department meetings once per year to review the new Department SOP's.