Providence Fire Department Looking For New Members

Providence Fire Department Looking For New Members

Breanna Reynolds, Writer

The Providence fire department is a 100% volunteer organization that primarily focuses on house fires, car accidents, brush fires, cold water rescue, and wildland search and rescue. It’s a part of the Saratoga mutual aid plan which means that they support other departments around the area. Outside of that they participated in the Town’s Kids Christmas Party, the Toys for Tots program, several fundraisers for the fire department itself, and when we all went into quarantine they did drive by birthday parades for the children who had to cancel parties. 

American fire companies started as a form of community collaboration. In the early days there were no state run or professional departments so to get the needed supplies they’d run community events to round up money and they’d meet about once a week to go over everything. Later on, around the mid 19th century, they took a bit of a turn and the way they operated is pretty similar to modern day gangs. They had a certain district of a community or city and they were the only ones who could show up there. They’d have the people living in that area pay them ‘taxes’ and there were actual brawls over who could put fires out in places like Philadelphia and Manhattan. Government run fire departments didn’t exist until after the civil war.

Today they’re obviously a lot more similar to the early colonial ways, it’s a bunch of people who gather every so often to make sure that they have the ability to keep their community safe from fires and they often participate and/or raise money through community events. It’s a system that produces a pretty large amount of social interaction and often makes community ties stronger. Humans are social creatures by nature and a strong community has been shown to lower the suicide rate, boost survival rates during crises (such as natural disasters or a disease outbreak), and in a time that’s been described as an “Epidemic of Loneliness”, we might need it more than ever. 

The needed equipment and state/federal training for the fire department is paid for with your families tax money and, assuming you stay in this area, someday yours will go there too. With all of these things in mind, maybe you should consider joining! As long as you live in Providence and you are 16 or above you can become an official volunteer at the Providence fire department. 

To get in you have to contact a member of the department (preferably the chief) to get an application, this is mostly to do background checks to make sure that no one has committed arson or is a sexual offender. Once you return the application and your background check comes in (hopefully) blank you get voted in at the next monthly meeting they have. These meetings are the first Tuesday of every month at 7 PM. 

There are different kinds of membership. There’s associate who mostly work behind the scenes, firefighters who do the actual fire fighting (as one may assume from the name), fire police who close down roads during fire calls, and truck drivers who drive the fire trucks. All of these positions require different amounts of training but no matter what you have to do some form of OSHA training. 

Something else to think about is that if you want to go into the military or something like it that fire departments are technically paramilitary organizations because of the structure they use. It could be a good way to familiarize yourself with the general leadership hierarchy. If you are not one of these people there’s also a scholarship that they give out to graduating seniors who are going into college or trade school. 

If you’re interested please contact the fire department through their facebook page, their email [email protected], or Scott Mulvena, the current chief, phone number (518)-258-0739.