Hinesburg firemen serve up a Safety Fun Day

By Robin Reid

Public Safety Family Fun Day features the opportunity to take a $1 ride on Engine 1, above, the first Hinesburg-owned fire engine completely restored in the 1990s by Jim Roberge.
Public Safety Family Fun Day features the opportunity to take a $1 ride on Engine 1, above, the first Hinesburg-owned fire engine completely restored in the 1990s by Jim Roberge.

Join the Hinesburg Firemen’s Association on Saturday, Sept. 6 from 10am to 4pm for the Hinesburg Public Safety Family Fun Day. Typically, the Hinesburg Fire Department hosts an annual chicken bar-b-cue during the Fourth of July festivities but this year they decided to do an all-out open house with a focus on public safety. Sumptuous hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages, corn-on-the-cob, side dishes, and desserts will be cooked or served up by the firefighters themselves. The charge will be per item and all the proceeds will benefit the Hinesburg Firemen’s Association.
In addition to great food there will be face painting, a bouncy house for little ones to safely blow off steam, and a dunk tank. Fire Chief Al Barber and Chief of Police Frank Koss will take turns in the dunk tank and there is an afternoon slot for another volunteer willing to get wet.
For 30 years Hinesburg Fire Department has contracted with St. Michael’s Fire and Rescue for ambulance services. A St. Mike’s ambulance will be on hand for people to have a look at the equipment on board. Emergency medical technicians will be available to answer questions and provide demonstrations. State of Vermont Safety Trailers will offer displays and allow anyone who is interested to try on a selection of up-to-date safety gear. In addition, the new Hinesburg Police Station will be open for tours.
A membership information table will be set up. Community members are urged to stop by to have a look and consider becoming a volunteer, take away an informational flyer, or a surprise treat. There will be a bicycle helmet give-away. As there will be a limited supply, the helmets are available on a first come, first serve basis. Hinesburg Fire Department supporter t-shirts will also be available for purchase.
Thirty volunteers make up the Hinesburg Fire Department. About half the members are also trained in various levels of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Volunteers can train for firefighting or emergency medicine or both. The Hinesburg Firemen’s Association offers many in-house educational opportunities for training and professional development. Special lectures and presentations are scheduled on a regular basis. At the close of this last fiscal year, the department responded to a total of 408 calls including fire, EMS, and accident calls. The Hinesburg Fire Department covers Hinesburg and St. George. They also participate in many mutual aid calls, particularly with their neighboring towns of Shelburne and Charlotte.
A true highlight of Hinesburg’s Safety Fun Day will be the chance to take a ride on Engine 1 for just one dollar. Engine 1 is a 1947 Ford that was the very first fire engine owned by the Town of Hinesburg. Engine 1 was fully restored in the 1990s by Jim Roberge. The shiny red fire engine has a special glass encased garage at the back of the Fire Station where it is surrounded by various trophies and awards—a symbol of the camaraderie and pride that exists among the Hinesburg fire fighters.
There will be a special duty crew assigned for the day in case any emergency calls come in. “If there is a serious call such as a structure fire, the entire department may be called to service,” said Eric Spivak, President of the Hinesburg Firemen’s Association, “but we’re hoping to serve lunch to several hundred people.”
In closing, Barber commented, “the focus [of the event] is to bring more awareness of safety down to the individual level and realize the tremendous effort put out by a small group of individuals that comprise the Fire Department. It is becoming much harder to fill the community’s needs when it comes to emergency responses.”
It’s through events like this that they are able to raise money for much needed equipment. Don’t miss this opportunity to show your support for the good work of the Hinesburg Firemen’s Association this weekend.