Tioga County's Community Press
Tioga County's Community Press, Tioga Co., NY

Apalachin Fire Department
Chief's Corner

"It was Only a Grass Fire…"
 On Saturday, March 14, we lost a brother firefighter. A five-year veteran of the Odessa Fire and Rescue  Protection District in Missouri, working at his third fire call of the day, collapsed, apparently from a heart attack, despite all his departments best efforts to save him. What caused this seasoned firefighter such fatigue, such stress, that his heart gave out?

 Why, it was only a grass fire.

 Every year, members of our fire department and thousands more like us around this nation spend long, hours in hot gear, trudging over hills, through heavy brush and brambles. We carry a tank with 5 to 7 gallons of water, at 8 pounds per gallon on our backs. We use rakes, shovels, hoes, brooms and a peculiar tool called a Pulaski to dig, claw, or beat the fire out. What do we do this for?

 Well, it was only a brush fire.

 According to the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, in 2006 a total of 98,385 wildfires devastated over 9 million acres of land in this country. Between 1985 and 1995, wildfire destroyed more than 9000 homes in the United States. (The Wildland Urban Fire Hazard, Insurances Services Office, Inc., December 1997) Granted, the problem is bigger in the Western states which are experiencing heavy drought conditions.  However, plenty of those homes were here, in the North East, in New York State.

 How do these destructive fires start? Some are from natural causes, mostly lightning strikes into dry areas. However, most are caused by us.  Humans. Remember Smokey the Bear? Carelessly thrown cigarettes, unattended campfires and bonfires can become big fires very quickly, especially with alcohol involved. Burning of brush, debris and trash is not only dangerous; it is prohibited by law in the Town of Owego. 

 This time of year, when the dried grasses and dead branches of winter provide lots of fuel is the most common time for wildfires in our area. It always seems that the unlucky homeowner, who tried their hardest to put the fire out, but ended up having to holler for help, tries to explain that "It was only a grass fire." It may have been, but as you can see, even grass fires can be fatal for firefighters.

 If you have any questions about the policies on open burning, you can contact 
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in Kirkwood at 

New Members
 The department welcomes Michael Navarro as our newest member. Glad to have you with us!

NYS-OFPC Training
 In March, Apalachin Fire Department hosted the ICS-100 Introduction to the Incident Command System and National Incident Management-700 classes. These are required training for all emergency responders in the United States, and the participants will receive credit through DHS and the National Fire Academy.

Did You Know?
 Membership in the Apalachin Fire Department has some great benefits; free training, gear is provided, a great meal once a month at the Business Meeting, and the opportunity to hang out with the "Hottest" folks in town; fire fighters! Stop by Station One on Pennsylvania Avenue to pick up an application..

The Community Press
a free newspaper, published monthly,
serving the Tioga County, New York, area
Copyright 2009 Brown Enterprise and Marketing

The Tioga County Community Press,
your hometown community newspaper, 
is mailed to residents in
Apalachin, Owego, Campville, Nichols, Newark Valley, 
and Tioga Center in Tioga County, New York
and Little Meadows, PA

The Community Press is published monthly by
Brown Enterprise And Marketing 
7830 Route 434, 
Apalachin, New York 13732

Copyright 2009 Brown Enterprise and Marketing

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