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Captain's Blog

The facts about Dormont Volunteer Firefighters.

As the end of another Dormont Volunteer Fire Department Raffle season is near the members and officers of the DVFD would once again like to thank the citizens of Dormont and the surrounding communities for your support.

The annual car raffle is our main source of fund-raising for the year and goes a long way to supporting the department that supports you all year long.

Many people often ask me, "What does it take to be a volunteer firefighter?" Well along with all the training and responding to calls for emergencies you also have to fund-raise. As much as I love the fire department and all that volunteering stands for, I often wondered, "How can a community that is required to provide its citizens fire protection expect the firefighters to raise money just so they can go out and protect the community?"

But the fact is this goes on not only in Dormont but many small communities around the country as well. So if you want to be a volunteer firefighter in Dormont and protect its citizens what is required of you? Well for starters after passing a background check, physical agility test and a physical exam by a doctor you must be voted on by the rest of the department. Once approved by the department you must then be voted on by Dormont Borough Council. After all this you are now a probationary member of the DVFD.

Now your training begins! The basic training requirement's for Dormont Firefighters are that you pass Pennsylvania Essentials of Fire Fighting (160 hours) and become FF1 certified, this is a test that you must pass both written (two hours) and practical (eight hours) to show the mastery of the skills learned in Essentials.

Now that you have passed the entry level testing you must keep up on your training via the following: training classes at the fire academy; training classes held at DVFD or other local stations; training through CCAC and other area community colleges; monthly drills held at DVFD. But wait—that's only the training part!

You also are expected to actually go to calls for service. DVFD averages around 30 calls a month and it is increasing every year. Firefighters are expected to make 40 percent of the yearly calls on average. Now remember calls come in all times of the day and night! Then guess what? We all have jobs to go to as well. But wait we are not done yet! The volunteers at DVFD also have to raise money to be able to have the training and equipment to respond to your time of need. This is done mainly through our yearly car raffle and fund drive mailing.

During raffle season every volunteer firefighter is required to work at least one four-hour shift a week at the raffle stand on West Liberty Avenue in addition every firefighter will work on July 4th from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. selling tickets, answering emergency calls and standing by for the Dormont Day fireworks etc. All the items listed above are done with pride every day by the volunteers of the DVFD! We are proud to serve you and thank you for your support!

Facts about Volunteer Fire Departments:  Volunteers comprise 73% of firefighters in the United States. • Communities served by volunteer firefighters depend on them to be their first line of defense for many types of emergencies. • The majority of fire departments in the United States are volunteer. • Services contributed by volunteer firefighters save localities across the country an estimated $37.2 billion per year. • The number of Volunteer Firefighters in the United States has declined more than 10% since 1983. • Fire department call volumes continue to increase. • Small and mid-sized communities rely heavily on volunteer firefighters. • 76 of the 107 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2004 were Volunteers. • Volunteer firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians across the country meet national and/or state training standards. • Volunteers invest a large amount of time serving their communities. • The cost to train and equip a firefighter is approximately $7,400. • Firefighting and emergency medical equipment is very expensive. • The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialized world at 13.5 deaths per million population. • 81 percent of all civilian fire deaths occurred in residences. • Direct property loss due to fires was estimated at $12.3 billion. • There were 3,925 civilians that lost their lives as the result of fire.

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Leah Petrilli June 30, 2011 at 10:46 PM
This is a great post with some great replies. We are so lucky to have a strong Fire Department in our community. Thanks to all of you who volunteer!
Mary Beth Kovic July 01, 2011 at 10:32 AM
Thanks to all of our firefighters and to their families who also make sacrfices. It takes a special dedication and we are fortunate to have such a strong department here in Dormont. Thanks for reminding us all of that, Bryan.
MSgt. John DeLallo July 20, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Dormont's Volunteer Fire Department is arguably one of the finest in Western PA. Having lived in Dormont for 25 years, I can only recall one total loss of a structure (Cip's on West Liberty) and a tough fire that broke out in the residential area on a truly cold and miserable day. Regardless, the home was saved and renovated by its owners. I've known some firefighters who have since retired, and I'm certain that the young folks who replaced them are doing a robust job as well. My hat's off to the Dormont VFD. Considering the age of the buildings on "Main Street", their job is far more dangerous than any bedroom community. Great article Bryan, and it points to a lot of hard work. When I lived in Dormont, I had to call them once. Response time, professional work, and careful planning saved my home from an imminent explosion. I'm forever grateful.
Bryan July 20, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Thanks for the kind words!
Randy & Dar July 22, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Bryan, I'm sure each of you have a story. Why did you become a firefighter? We'd love to hear yours, and the stories of your comrads, or team members.

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