POULTNEY - Located in Vermont along the New York stateline, in the Lakes Region of Rutland County, the Town of Poultney is comprised of village, town, and Lake St. Catherine vacation areas. Serving these subsets of the community is the Poultney Volunteer Fire Department.
Poultney's fire department responds to approximately 150 emergency calls in the region and makes mutual aid calls in across the stateline in Hampton, N.Y.
The Poultney F.D. consists of 30 volunteers. Each volunteer has successfully completed 50 or more hours of training and most have attended state-certified schools. Many of the volunteers have also received level-1 certification or higher.
Poultney Fire Chief Dave Winters said training is a top priority; he and the volunteer squad take pride in the fact that training makes the department stand out when compared to other departments around Vermont. Most volunteers have completed over 100 training hours and practice drills are held every Tuesday night throughout the year.
Winters said firefighters must keep up with changes in automobile safety measures, especially to get drivers and passengers extricated from a car, truck, or tractor trailer rig. Being prepared for an emergency ahead of time can helps get firefighters, and other rescue personnel, up to speed rapidly when they are needed. If firefighters can save five minutes, it's five more minutes that may save lives.
To do their job effectively and efficiently, Poultney firefighters insist on having the right tools for the job. As an example, the fire department recently purchased gas meters. But according to Winters, "Updating the equipment can be costly at first, but its impact can be considerable during an emergency. Right now, even with the economy as bad as it is, Poultney F.D. is in good shape."
Once a year, fire department members hold an open house for the community and openly discuss serious issues of fire prevention in town.