A brand new, fully equipped fire police truck was celebrated in Hometown on Saturday.
The vehicle, a 2013 Ford F350 4X4, was purchased through Kovatch Ford, Inc., Nesquehoning and replaces a 1992 Ford F250 ambulance now owned by West Penn Township fire police.
According to Merle Wertman, Tamaqua, captain of Hometown fire police, the new truck is identified as #2570 and was placed into service in August.
Fire police are counting on the new truck to provide maximum safety while saving on the potential cost of repairs.
Wertman, an 18-year veteran of fire police service, said Hometown fire police work hard year-round to provide services and the advantage of a new emergency vehicle will give their efforts a boost. The Hometown contingent is routinely called on to assist in Tamaqua Borough and many other municipalities in Schuylkill and Carbon counties and beyond.
In fact, Hometown fire police have earned a reputation for reliability, whether for traffic control at a vehicle accident, fire, search and rescue, environmental emergency, football game traffic control or any number of situations that can put public health and safety at risk.
Hometown fire police consists of volunteers who do not charge for their services, even when assisting out of the area.
But, as with all other emergency services and first responders, Hometown fire police need new members.
"If people want to help out their community, we'd welcome them with open arms," said Wertman.
Jeaninne Motroni, Hometown, the only female member of the group, said opportunities abound for those interested in helping. Present fire police staffers would gladly provide orientation for those who'd like to lend a hand. Motroni said it doesn't necessarily take a tremendous amount of stamina or physical condition to make a solid contribution.
"If they can walk around the block, they can do fire police work," said Motroni, who adds that one of the greatest rewards of the job is to know you've helped your fellow man. This can mean simply "being at an accident scene and making people feel good," she explained. "If you get enjoyment in helping people, this is where you should be."
Motroni emphasized that people need not be afraid of the task. Fire police would never ask a member to do something they couldn't handle.
"You don't need to go up on a roof or go to an accident scene and be afraid of what you'll see," Motroni noted. Fire police work together as a close-knit group. Volunteers are not expected to engage in unpleasant circumstances that would cause emotional distress.
"We don't want to put someone in a situation they're not comfortable with because that wouldn't work out," said Motroni.
But help is needed in many different types of circumstances, such as with a medical call when someone falls in their home and needs help standing up.
"Even carrying a bottle of water to a firefighter coming out of a building is providing an important service," Motroni explained. Members of Hometown fire police would welcome any local residents who might want to learn more about the role and meet new friends.
You don't even need to live in Hometown or Schuylkill County.
Anyone interested in inquiring about fire police, or even if just to offer thanks to those who perform these tasks, is welcome to stop by and say hello at Hometown Fire Company on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.