Fire Department Sounds The Alarm

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From left: Lieutenant Nabeel Arain, First Deputy Chief Tom Skinner (center) and ex-Captain George Somerset at the Fire Service Academy
From left: Lieutenant Nabeel Arain, First Deputy Chief Tom Skinner (center) and ex-Captain George Somerset at the Fire Service Academy

At the most recent village board meeting, the Stewart Manor Fire Department made a passionate plea to the younger members of the community to help bolster their thinning ranks by stepping up and serving their fellow residents as honorable and courageous volunteer firefighters.

Trustee William Grogan, an active member of the fire department, noted that volunteer firefighters are in great demand at the moment, and urged attendees at this month’s meeting to make it known to any who might be interested in serving in their ranks.

“There’s a never-ending need for the fire department to increase the enrollment of young people in the village,” he said. “This is a very honorable endeavor, but somebody has to do it to maintain this volunteer service that we’re doing…otherwise, if we have to move to a professional fire service, our taxes are going to increase significantly. So, it would be appreciated as much as possible if residents could spread the word that we’re always in need of new recruits.”

First Deputy Chief Tom Skinner detailed the Stewart Manor Fire Department’s training, citing their ongoing regular use of a valuable commodity in their line of work—the Nassau County Fire Service Academy, a huge and elaborate training facility located in Bethpage that is hailed by many as one of the finest of its type in the United States.

The Stewart Manor Fire Department training at the Fire Service Academy.
The Stewart Manor Fire Department training at the Fire Service Academy.

“The training mandate at the Fire Service Academy is four nights a year…however, we go there about eight nights a year, training with our other town departments so that when they come in and work with us, or we go out with them, that we’re familiar with each other’s training, trucks and members,” he said. “Last year, we trained 12 nights at the Fire Service Academy…we try to get as many nights as we can because, even though we don’t get a lot of fires here in Stewart Manor, we try to keep our members ready in case we do have an emergency.”

In addition to honing their skills at the facility in Bethpage as often as possible, Skinner said that the Stewart Manor Fire Department does not sit on their laurels the rest of the time; regular intensive training on a local level is just another facet of what they do to safeguard the community.

“We train at the fire house every Thursday and every Sunday, and I believe that’s more than any other department in Nassau County…on average, they may train two to four nights a month, and we train eight days a month, every month,” he said. “It’s not that people have to come down and train with us eight nights a month, but we do it to keep ourselves up and ready, along with our busy EMS service, which gets a lot of calls.”

Skinner expressed appreciation for the backing of the village administration, but reiterated the sentiments of Trustee Grogan; the fire department’s membership is slowly waning, and to ensure that the village of Stewart Manor is properly safeguarded, they are looking for local residents ready to step up.

“We’ve been lucky to have a board of trustees that support us and give us the equipment that we need and the funding to run the fire department properly…I want to thank them for that,” he said. “But, as Bill [Grogan] said, we do need help from residents and the younger generation, because some of us are getting a little up there. So, if you could help spread the word among the younger ladies and gentlemen in the community, we would very much appreciate it.”

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Chris Boyle is a reporter with Anton Media Group.

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