Contact the Borough’s Fire Marshal’s Office. Ridley Park’s Fire Marshal is Brian P. Gilmore.
First of all, we need to alert members to fire calls.
Fire pagers are expensive and we aren’t able to provide them immediately for newer members (we have lost many pagers this way after the new member loses interest and disappears without giving the pager back). Pagers are also easily damaged. We do utilize both text messaging and phone applications as well. However, the phone application applies a charge for each person added to the system, so we again have to limit the number of people we add. Texting costs the fire company nothing, but individual members may be charged for the texts on their personal phone plans. Texting is also not 100% reliable. As a matter of fact, all of the systems we use to alert members to calls have failed at least once. In those cases, the siren did alert those members who did not receive the call on other devices. The siren has also alerted members who were not wearing phones or pagers at the time of the call (while doing yard work, swimming, etc.)
But, the purpose of the siren is not just to alert our members. Even though there are “Firefighter Parking Only” signs posted on the firehouse ramp, visitors to Borough Hall, the Library, and the Athletic Club regularly park on the ramp, not just in the parking area, but on the actual ramp in front of the bay doors. Children also regularly ride bikes and skateboards on that ramp and during the school year, crossing guards may be crossing children near the station as well as on roads the trucks need to go down.
The siren alerts everyone in the area that there is an emergency and that firefighters will be driving onto the ramp and trucks will be driving out of the building and in the area. We hope that the siren will warn everyone to stay clear of the front of the station and to be aware that trucks may soon be in their area.
Please understand that while some may regard the siren as an annoyance, every time you hear it, volunteer firefighters in your borough are dropping everything, leaving their own homes, families, and often their dinner tables, to respond to an emergency in a neighbor’s home or business. We also shut off the siren from 10pm through 7am so we don’t disturb your sleep (although that doesn’t mean that we aren’t waking up ourselves for a fire call during those times.)
We are 100% volunteer.
We are not paid a salary.
We are not paid per call.
We have no paid officers or drivers.
Our members actually pay $5 yearly dues to belong to the fire company. This means that we all attend calls, events, and training in our spare time outside of our work and family time. (A paid fire department would cost Ridley Park residents much more in taxes.)
If you live in Ridley Park, you will receive our annual fund drive request, which we send to raise funds for the fire company. Ridley Park does not have an ambulance service so ambulances from Tinicum Township and Norwood Fire Companies respond into Ridley Park for medical emergencies. Those ambulance services also send out fund drive requests.
Please understand, these are requests. You are under no obligation to send a donation, but we truly appreciate if you do. We are neighbors volunteering to help our fellow neighbors. You may have seen news stories about communities where fire companies stand by and allow homes to burn because the resident did not pay a fire fee. We will never do that. But, again, we are 100% volunteer and our members devote a lot of spare time to fundraising activities as well as firefighting and training. So, we are thankful for all of our fund drive donations. And anything you give to the ambulance companies is your choice, but those donations do not go to the fire company that will be responding to your home for any fire emergency.
To be honest, very few firefighters actually “run” into the burning building.
There are many jobs to do on the outside (driving and operating the apparatus, water supply–such as hooking up to hydrants, raising ladders, fetching tools and equipment, etc.) We also respond to numerous emergencies that don’t involve burning buildings (brush fires, carbon monoxide emergencies, gas leaks, wires/transformer emergencies, etc.).
There is no harm in stopping by the station to ask about joining the company without becoming an interior firefighter.
Still, if you’d like to help, but have no desire to ever be a firefighter, contact us. Do you or your child need to fulfill a community requirement somewhere? Would you like to teach your child or your children’s organization about community service? Again, contact us. We hold various fundraisers, would you like to help? We clean our own station and equipment and would be grateful to anyone willing to wash a fire truck, vacuum and dust around the station, or clean our bathrooms. Any retired auto-mechanics out there? How about anyone with mechanical skills? Consider how much equipment we use, from our trucks, to saws, generators, and sump pumps. We’d love some free help with general maintenance and repair. Have you seen the sign in front of our station? Would you be willing to change the message for us for ten minutes on a Thursday night? Do you love to do woodwork? Many drill and fire prevention mock-ups require the skills of a carpenter. Do you love to do crafts? Maybe you could donate your services to give us something we could raffle off. For example, instead of a dollhouse, build a little firehouse, or fire truck, or bookshelf, bench, or toy box with a fire motif and donate it to us (with a public thanks) to use as a door prize at our open house or as a raffle item at a public event. It’s not all about the firefighting, so please, feel free to contact us with an offer of any services you can provide. (Just click on the “Contact Us” section to offer your services.)