Tamaqua Fire Police appreciated: 'Always there when we need them'
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Pictured during the award appreciation presentation were from back left, Tamaqua Police Chief Dave Mattson, Tamaqua Fire Police Lieutenant Brent Confer and Tamaqua Mayor Chris Morrison. Tamaqua Fire Police volunteers pictured sitting from left are Charles Hollenbach, Vice President Herbert Curvey, President Sheldon Shafer, and Captain Robert Schlorf.
Volunteers from the Tamaqua Fire Police Association were presented with an Award of Appreciation plaque from the Tamaqua Police Department, presented by Tamaqua Mayor Chris Morrison and Police Chief Dave Mattson during the association's monthly training meeting Sunday in the Tamaqua Borough Hall building.
Mayor Morrison pointed out the Tamaqua borough's and police department's high appreciation for all initiative and valuable services provided almost daily by all the Tamaqua Fire Police volunteers. Mattson said during the presentation, "Your professionalism and training is honorable and you are there whenever we need you. Thousands of man-hours are provided every year by all the dedicated volunteers of the Tamaqua Fire Police."
Fire Police volunteers in Tamaqua and throughout our area routinely respond to all types of emergencies consisting of fires, vehicle accidents, road closures, power outages, alarm calls, water main breaks, pole changes, out-of-town calls and many others where traffic or crowd control is important. In addition to vehicle movement and crowd control, Fire Police are used to help keep scenes clear and to guard emergency gear being used by other emergency departments responding to the emergency.
The Tamaqua Fire Police operate under the Fire Police Statue as a non-profit organization, granted by the Pennsylvania Legislation known as the Title 35 Health & Safety Fire Police Act 122 under the current law. Under the Act of 1941, Special Fire Police Officers were legally created to act in emergency situations and then only when their fire departments were involved. This enabled the officers to provide protection for their fire companies. Later, the act was amended to give the officers the power to act without fire company involvement.
The Tamaqua Fire Police Association represents 14 active volunteers from four Tamaqua Fire Companies consisting of the American Hose, East End, Citizen's and South Ward fire companies. Fire Police volunteers are known to be one of the first to respond and last to leave at most emergencies. Fire Police also volunteer a lot of their time with in-town and out-of-town parades, temporary security for community events, as well as playing key-support roles for a large range of other various community activities.
The Tamaqua Fire Police Association, which consists entirely of volunteers, is almost entirely self-supported. Every year, the association receives $100 from each Tamaqua fire company and holds various fundraisers to keep their association running. Fire Police volunteers are known to respond and be on-scene for many hours at many undesirable incidents. Most responses are usually unknown to the public, as they involve odd hours or various locations. One recent example is when Tamaqua Fire Police volunteers had to close and detour SR-309 in Tamaqua for almost 10 hours early Thanksgiving morning after a drunk driver snapped a pole on Mauch Chunk Street and PPL crews spent time replacing the pole. "If the town had to pay for your services, they couldn't afford it", said Mattson during the presentation.