From the Firehouse: June 2020

From the Firehouse – June 2020
by Jack Halchak, Past Chief HFD
The Hurleyville Fire Department is always looking for help, to fight fire or support those that do. We even supply all of the gear and provide all of the training needed, for free. Stop by any Monday night and find out how you can help.
Not much has changed since last month. Our firehouse is still closed down for meetings, events and to the public. We are responding to all calls as we always do.
Some firehouses have been using video conferencing to hold meetings and training. A couple of insurance companies have canned some lessons for fire departments to use with video conferencing.
Once a week the Sullivan County Bureau of Fire has a video conference on Zoom with all of the County Fire Chiefs. They are brought up to date on what is going on with training, physicals that need to be taken, fit tests that need to be done, points needed for insurance plans, and other tasks that we all took for granted. With the nice weather, some departments are getting some training outside where it is easier to maintain social distancing.
I have been on a number of zoom conference calls. It is good to see some of the faces of people you have not seen in months. Zoom can keep us in touch but there is nothing like having a meeting in a firehouse. At most of the county-wide association meetings the host fire department serves a meal before the meeting. The social networking of what is going on in the various firehouses is just as valuable as the meeting itself. You don’t get that socialization on a video conference.
The Burn Ban expired on May 14, and the woods and fields really greened up. So what happens? In the span of four days we had three major brush fires involving multiple fire companies. Around the same time frame there were also a number of structure fires, again involving multiple departments. The overall call volume county-wide is down, but we are still responding to incidents that involve multiple companies. Once the weather finally warmed up there were a number of calls for lost hikers. Fortunately, most lost hikers had a phone and we were able to get GPS coordinates and they were found in a timely manner.
Now that the weather is nice, you should expect some severe thunderstorms that will pop up with little or no warning, or will be predicted hours in advance. Are you ready? Now is the time to once again check your flashlight, battery powered radio etc. With the restrictions because of the pandemic, do you have enough medication if we lose power and/or cannot travel for a few days? Now is the time to check on these items while it is nice out, not as the storm approaches or as it is hitting. I know there are many different alert systems for your phone out there to alert you to oncoming storms and or severe weather. NY-ALERT is a great one, and you can download it for free at alert,ny,gov
Now to the 2020 Census: Sullivan County is ranked 61 out of 62 counties in reporting. The Census count was just starting when the pandemic hit. Door-to-door Census takers were just starting and had to stop. I am not sure what happened to the mailers. My wife and I didn’t get anything in the mail or a packet on our doorknob. I did see a few packets on doorknobs on Main Street, Hurleyville early on. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete the 2020Census.
You can go online or you can call (844) 330-2020.
We need to be counted!