Every firefighter and emergency medical care provider in the Danby Fire District is a volunteer, but no amount of dedication can make up for the fact that there just aren't enough of us. We need additional volunteers. Almost everybody joins with no prior emergency qualifications or experience; all training and equipment is provided at no cost to the volunteer. There's a variety of ways you can get involved, depending on your interests and availability:
You do not need to become a firefighter or EMT to fill an important role in the Fire Company. Support members help maintain the fire station, assist with events and fundraisers, and may be called on to bring drinks or food to the scene of a long call. There is always work to be done, and always room for anyone willing to help do it. Commit as much time as you want to.
Active members consist of all of our members who respond to emergency calls: this includes exterior and interior firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and fire police.
All categories of active members are required to have an annual physical exam (at no cost to the member) and obtain the following initial training:
- CPR and First Aid certifications
- Incident Command System 100 and 700: 3-hour courses offered online by FEMA, cover common terminology and principles for emergency services nationally.
- Hazardous Materials First Responder Operations: New York State course, usually offered once or twice per year in Tompkins County.
Active members are also expected to regularly attend the Fire Company's training and meetings on Monday nights at 7:00 PM and to occasionally be available for Saturday training. This includes annual OSHA-required safety training.
Exterior firefighters perform all fire suppression skills except for using self-contained breathing apparatus to enter hazardous atmospheres or actively burning buildings. This includes advancing and operating hose lines, deploying ladders, operating pumps, securing a water supply, extricating trapped victims from wrecked vehicles, fighting grass & brush fires, and protecting neighboring structures from a fire. Most of our calls do not involve entering a burning structure and require only exterior firefighting skills; further, the actions of interior firefighters would be impossible without extensive support from exterior personnel.
In addition to the requirements for all active members, exterior firefighters need to take the 27-hour Scene Support Operations course. This is a New York State course usually offered annually in Tompkins County (plus offerings in surrounding counties) over about two or three nights or weekends per week for about three weeks.
Only a few of our members are interior firefighters, trained to do what everyone thinks of firefighters doing: enter burning buildings to rescue trapped victims and put out the fire. Additionally, their training to use self-contained breathing apparatus enables them to get close to the toxic smoke produced by vehicle fires, or to deal with gas leaks or carbon monoxide problems.
In addition to the requirements for all active members, interior firefighters need to take the 87-hour Firefighter I course (about three months of a few nights per week, plus a weekend) and the 12-hour Firefighter Survival course (one weekend), and participate in regular SCBA training within the Fire Company.
Emergency Medical Services Providers
The majority of our calls are medical in nature. As a non-transporting first response service, we provide initial care in an emergency before transferring patients to Bangs Ambulance when they arrive.
Danby provides emergency medical care at two levels of certification:
- Emergency Medical Technician - Basic (EMT-B): Basic life support provider, trained to assess and manage immediate life threats. Course usually offered each year over about a semester-and-a-half by TC3 and Cornell, or in three weeks in an intensive program at the NYS Fire Academy in Montour Falls. Additionally, local fire departments will sometimes sponsor an EMT course on another schedule.
- Advanced Emergency Medical Technician - Intermediate (AEMT-I): Further trained in patient assessment and able to perform some advanced life support interventions such as advanced airway management and intravenous access. EMT-B certification is a prerequisite. Offered as a semester-long course at TC3, but also requires extensive clinical time.
The NYS Department of Health certifies two higher levels of care, AEMT-Critical Care and AEMT-Paramedic. Danby is not equipped to provide care at these levels, but these are career opportunities for individuals who become an EMT with us and discover that they like it.
There is also one lower level of care, Certified First Responder. We do not mention it in detail here because CFR courses are not often offered in Tompkins County.
Fire police perform some of the most dangerous work for arguably the least recognition. Although fires are dangerous, one of the greatest hazards to firefighters is being struck by a careless driver on an emergency scene. A fire or accident can be very disruptive to traffic, and also create a spectacle that distracts drivers. The primary duty of fire police is to control traffic around an emergency scene in order to protect our members and the public from this danger. This often means standing for hours in inclement weather, doing work that is not as "exciting" or "heroic" as fighting fire or extricating an accident victim; however, fire police are an absolutely essential part of nearly all of our operations. Fire police may also perform other scene protection duties such as securing the scene during a fire investigation.
In addition to the requirements for active members, fire police take a 21-hour New York State course and are sworn in as peace officers.
We always require drivers for our emergency vehicles. Drivers must be full members of the Fire Company who have completed their probationary period, and must take an Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (18 hours) and undergo training on each specific vehicle they want to drive. Drivers of a fire vehicle must be trained as exterior or interior firefighters.
Educated Citizen & Community Supporter
We understand that not everyone has the free time to give to joining the Fire Company. If this is your situation, you can still help us help you by taking a little time to make sure that you know how to help prevent and prepare for common emergencies. See our Safety Information page to learn more. You can also support us at community events or make a donation.
- Prospective volunteers must appear at a monthly business meeting of the Fire Company to submit their application. Business meetings are held at the fire station on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 PM.
- Application forms may be obtained by visiting Company training, on all other Mondays (except holidays) at 7:00 PM, or any of our community events. Applicants are strongly encouraged to come to our training prior to applying in order to introduce themselves.
- Applications are voted on by the members of the Fire Company, and if they are accepted, they are then voted on by the Board of Fire Commissioners at their own meeting. Applicants will be notified by mail of their acceptance, typically after about two weeks.
- In accordance with New York State law, new members must pass a background check for arson.
- New members must complete a probationary period of six months to one year. During this time, they must get a physical exam and should begin working to obtain the training required for whichever duties they wish to perform.
- After the probationary period, the members of the Fire Company will vote on whether to accept the individual as a full member.
Individuals aged 16-17 are welcome to volunteer with us. Junior members must have the consent of their parent or guardian to apply. Junior members can participate in training, and in some emergency responses under supervision. Junior members are restricted from performing certain types of hazardous duties.