The Rutland Tribune continues its 2008-09 look at all Rutland County volunteer fire and rescue squads.
Fair Haven is in southwestern Vermont, at the junction of U.S. Routes 4 and 22A; it's the first town through which motorists pass when entering Vermont from the New York line. The town is nestled amid ancient hills between the Adirondacks and Green Mountains-it's a picturesque New England town.
It's here that I found the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department (FHFD). Twenty-two volunteers ("non-paid professionals" as the chief says) respond to 120 emergency calls per year in the Fair Haven and Lower Hampton, N.Y., area. The men and women are also available for mutual aid assistance to other neighboring towns that have them dispatched to a larger incident.
The department responds to emergency calls from the community with first aid, automobile accidents which require HAZMAT or the "jaws of life". Some calls are short and completed within a few minutes; others take up multiple hours of time on scene. There is no such thing as a typical call in Fair Haven.
A challenge specific to FHFD is its small, quaint firestation. "A new station is definitely on our wish list," said Chief Don Howard. "We are also looking at replacing older trucks. Currently, the truck committee is looking at obtaining a new rescue pumper."
These firefighters spend a lot of time training and responding to emergency calls. But in addition, they take any opportunity to help educate the public in regard to fire prevention and what they do as firefighters.
According to Howard, people who have been affected by the department often send in letters of appreciation and thanks.
"It's what makes us keep going everyday. We like serving our community; saving lives and property is a serious commitment to all members."
Shannon Earle has 20 years of fire service under his belt. He joined and has maintained his commitment to the department because, "I love serving the community and being a part of a great team."