This is an open letter to the Apalachin Fire District Taxpayers. It’s been a few months since our last update and I wanted to share a few things with you all. We’ve hosted a number of events at the new fire station, have seen an increase in applications to volunteer, and had a few high-profile emergency responses you may have heard about.
Most recently, we participated in the Recruit NY event in late April, opening our doors to the community and welcoming interested parties in learning more about how they can help their community through the fire department. Year to date, we’ve seen an increase in applications for new volunteers and overall membership is up. This is a wonderful and welcomed trend and we encourage more of you to come join us Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. at Station 1 for training. Our call response rate has also improved in 2019 and I’m grateful for those dedicated volunteers who’ve sacrificed their time to help their neighbors.
Financially, the Fire District has performed almost exactly to plan through the first four months of 2019. This is a testament to the careful planning and expense control of your commissioners and our treasurers. Operationally, we’ve invested in new firefighter safety gear, added new ice rescue gear, and are in the process of planning to demolish the foreclosed house behind Station 1 that was acquired in 2017. This effort will be in preparation for what we anticipate will be additional parking capacity added in a future project. To proactively alleviate any concerns, the Commissioners do not have any intention of borrowing funds to complete this and expect to manage any project within our capital reserves and operational savings.
I don’t usually speak about our emergency calls in this letter, but two stand out that I’ve received a lot of comments and questions on. First, the structure fire on Marshland Road in March was an excellent example of the cooperative nature of the fire service and the synergies of area departments working together.
Second, in April the Apalachin Fire Department was called to assist in the successful search for a missing child in the Tioga Terrace area. More than three dozen AFD members turned out and were supplemented by more than 150 volunteers from the community, area fire departments, search and rescue teams from Tioga, Broome, Chenango, and Tompkins counties, and police agencies including the New York State Police, Tioga County Sheriff, Vestal Police, and New York State Forest Rangers. This was an amazing example of the good that can come from teamwork. If you happened to be one of the volunteers and realized how rewarding it can be to help others, I encourage you to go read paragraph two again.
Thank you all for supporting your local volunteer fire department. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out.
Chairman, Board of Fire Commissioners
Apalachin Fire District