The Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company
New Fire Station Project
To all residents and businesses we serve. I would like to invite you to help the Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company move into the future. Our fire department over the past 75 years has made tremendous progress in our equipment, training of members, participation with the community and countless other projects that benefit you. Our department has always been on the leading edge in York County when it comes to how we operate and have set the pace in many aspects of the fire/rescue service in our area. We have seen the community grow leaps and bounds and now it is our turn.
As you are aware fire taxes were introduced in Shrewsbury Township as well as Shrewsbury Borough. These taxes were put in place to keep our department in good financial order and lessen the burden of fundraising on our firefighters. Prior to the fire tax our membership was spending nearly more hours doing fundraising than responding to calls. Our members also spend hundreds of hours just in training to keep our department proficient when serving you. We are grateful to our local governments and the relationship we have with them. The fire tax money keeps our operating budget solvent and now it’s time to work on a major capital investment: A new firehouse. A new station is needed for many reasons however listed below are the primary concerns.
Equipment storage: Currently our department houses 2 fire engines, 1 heavy rescue unit, 1 brush truck, 1 utility truck and a duty car. We have had to store at least one vehicle outside because of lack of space in the apparatus bays. When all vehicles are kept inside during severe weather there is barely room to get around the units. This creates an unsafe work area for members. Currently if we are inspecting our apparatus on the front ramp of the station we are barely able to park without protruding onto West Forrest Avenue. Our heavy rescue unit, Rescue 61, cannot fit on the ramp unless we keep it’s bay door open on the station. Future apparatus additions are impossible because of space restraints inside the station. We must look to the future and consider what additional pieces of emergency equipment may be needed for our department to do our job to the best of our ability. The community continues to grow and so must we.
Office Space: The Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company shares two rooms for all administrative operations. 13 officers share two rooms plus the books, computers and other files necessary to do their job are in these rooms. Space is very limited and people are often asked to leave the room so important administrative meetings can take place.
Equipment storage: Currently our operational equipment storage is located in the apparatus bay area which is already crammed. Add to this all of the lockers for our members protective equipment and other small tools necessary in keeping our station operational it adds up to a limited space available area. We must expand the ability to store small tools, air compressors, spare fire hose, spare fire protective gear as well as the current lockers for our members protective gear. We need to expand the storage space for flammable materials, spare parts for the apparatus and cleaning materials for the building. Our space is at maximum capacity and we must find a better solution.
Member Accommodations: Currently our members have no sleeping quarters in the firehouse. If members wish to spend the night to make our response times quicker they must use cots. This is not the most comfortable way to stay ready to protect the community. Our current lounge area for crew members also serves as the company meeting room, training room and storage room for station operations materials. There is no room for a full size refrigerator, stove and cabinets for crews to use to make meals when manning the station. We currently use the departments hall kitchen to prepare food. This becomes an issue if the hall is being rented or in use. We currently share space in the hall refrigerators for everyday food storage for the members use. Sometimes during banquet usage in the hall, space is unavailable for crew members to store food. Our department’s members deserve a better living condition when asked to volunteer their time to protect the community. We plan to make room in the new station for sleeping, eating, fitness, training and other member related needs.
Heating and Air Conditioning systems: Our HVAC systems in the station are showing their age and the station is not the most energy efficient building. A few years ago our Auxiliary membership provided money to us for the purchase of new bay doors for the apparatus room. This was a tremendous help in keeping heat in during the winter months and the design of the doors reflect sunlight during the summer months to lessen the heat build up inside. Our HVAC systems are going to need a major overhaul in a few years which will cost us a lot of money. We would rather spend that money on newer, more efficient heating and cooling of a more modern and energy efficient building.
Parking: Currently our members, when responding to emergency incidents, park on West Forrest Avenue along the curbs. They must then run across the street to enter the station. This is very hazardous when dealing with traffic and several years ago a member was struck by a vehicle and severely injured. Our rear parking lot is used also. When members park out back they must move through the entire station to get to the front and prepare themselves for responses. Our leadership feels we need to provide better parking accommodations for our members safety and ease of use.
The above listed issues are primary concerns of our departments leadership. There are countless more issues with our current building involving wiring, accessibility, functionality and layout that necessitates us to look at building a new station. We considered a renovation project rather than a total new building. We soon learned how such a project would hamper our ability to operate. We would have to build a temporary building to store our apparatus which leads to security issues as well as a place for members to gather. We looked at several options and finally decided the best option is to build a new building behind our current one. Once completed we could move all apparatus and supplies into the new building and then level the old station. This concept will keep us fully operational during the entire project once started. We have contingency plans to continue the yearly carnival at another location once this construction is done.
We realize getting a new station will take many years. Working with an architect we have designed an efficient building that can take us into the future. We have started a building fund to raise the anticipated six million dollars to build a new fire house. A building fund drive will be sent out once a year asking for donations for the construction. All money sent in from this letter campaign goes directly to the building fund and NOT operational needs for the current fire station. We are setting up a GoFundMe account so people can contribute directly. A link to that account will be listed below in the very near future. We hope to raise money as quickly as possible to begin the future of our department. We hope you will help us with your generous tax-deductible contributions.
If you have any questions about the future of YOUR local fire department please feel free to send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond to your questions in a timely manner. Thank you and we hope you will help us build our future station.
The Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company
“Professionally Staffed by Volunteers”