Volunteer Fire Company Of The Week: The West Falls Fire Company
This weeks Volunteer Fire Company Of The Week is the West Falls Volunteer Fire Company. Here is some history about their fire company:
The West Falls Fire Company was born in the year 1909 with a founding membership of 12. Their goal was to provide fire suppression to their growing town. At the April, 1920 meeting of the members, they approved the purchase of 6 – 14 quart pails to better their cause.
At the June 1921 company meeting, they purchased their first motorized chassis to mount the horse-drawn chemical unit. In May 1932, they purchased another truck for a price of $2000.00 for better protection of the ever-growing community.
The year 1945 turned out to be a very destructive year for West Falls in regards to property lost to fires. November and December brought significant dollar loss to the community from large fires. Throughout the next several years the fire company purchased and traded equipment to continue upgrading their abilities.
In May 1950, West Falls hosted their first Red Cross First Aid Course. Giving them yet another addition to the growing company. February 1951 brought the first Mutual Aid plan with the surrounding communities. Giving West Falls, more resources to handle emergencies. In May 1955, West Falls purchased the first ambulance for the town. It was a 1955 Cadillac for the price of $5000.00.
Years progressed and the town continued to grow rapidly. Fund raisers, dances and a lot of hard work by the members bought new and more advanced equipment. 1965 brought the first “Brand New” pumper/tanker. It had a pumping capacity of 750 gallons of water per minute and carried 1000 gallons of water.
The fire service as a whole, found itself undergoing radical changes-gone were the days of horse drawn pumps and leather buckets. It was obvious that the means by which firemen were alerted to calls also needed change. Consequently, at the April 1971 meeting of the company, they went on record as supporting the hiring of full-time dispatchers at East Aurora Fire Control.
January 1977 brought the Blizzard of 77. Numerous people were stranded at the fire hall. Several members of the company took these stranded people into their own homes to take care and feed them until the storm subsided. Moreover, numerous snowmobile teams were organized to assist in delivering medication and food to those who were trapped in their own homes. Again, the residents of West Falls could sleep soundly knowing their volunteers were there to help.
December 1978 the fire company elected their very first female firefighters into the company. They were the first female firefighters in the area. 1979 brought the first fire hydrants to the community. That bought a whole new change to the way fires were fought in the areas where the hydrants were placed. The fire company was accustom to drafting from ponds, pools, streams and creeks. 1979 also brought the “Jaws of Life” Extrication Tool. This tool is very critical for saving lives in automobile accidents. 1982 brought Advanced Life Support for the ambulance. Giving the fire company yet another step in providing the best possible care to the residents of the community.
The years to follow brought many awards and accomplishments to both the fire company and its members. 1998 brought the first computer to the fire hall. 1992, the first automated defibrillator was purchased. 1993 the fire company adopted and is to this day, fully compliant with Federal OSHA Requirements.
1999 gave the fire company a new home. The truck hall was completely renovated at 1864 Davis Road and a second floor was added. The old meeting hall at 1863 Davis Road was sold, making all of the fire company operations under one roof at 1864. In addition, in 1999, the West Falls Fire Company took another giant step in their strive to provide the best possible care to the community. The ambulance became Paramedic certified. The highest possible care you can provide in the State of New York.
Today, the fire company is managed by 5 Board Of Fire Commissioners. The Board of Fire Commissioner’s, which was formed in 1936, is made up of a group of five people, elected by the tax payers. These five are responsible for not only the fire hall itself, but the fire trucks inside of it. They are the people responsible to the tax payers for providing the services the fire company provides. The person in charge of that operation is the District Fire Chief. The Chief is elected by the members of the fire company and is responsible for the overall operations and training of the fire company members. There are 44 active members, which include a junior firefighter squad a fire police squad. To date, there are about 15 females in the company who are just as, if not more active in both EMS and Fire then some of the men.
The company operates 2 – 1000 gallon/1500 GPM Engines, 1 Heavy Rescue and 1 Ambulance.
In addition, a silent, but intricate part of the fire company is the Ladies Auxiliary. This is a group of wonderful women who have take the time from their busy schedules to provide refreshments/support to the firefighters when providing prolonged services to the community. They were formed in 1933 and have continued their support since their inception. They provided support to the men and their families years ago, when the country was at war and to date, they are still providing support (and Food) when the fire company is at war, fighting a disaster. What a relief it is to see them with the hot coffee and sandwiches when its 10 degrees below zero. There is not doubt, without all of the wonderful ladies and their underlying devotion, The West Falls Fire Company could never have become the respected organization that it is today.
To this date, the members of the West Falls Fire Company continue striving to provide the best they can offer to the wonderful community in which they live. No one can predict what the future will bring, but the residents of the community can guarantee the fire company will be on top of what comes their way.