Chief Madison Martineau spoke to Inside Press about the importance of getting volunteers from the community, and ways that Pleasantville residents can get involved.
While he notes that some members over the years have come and gone due to moving in or out of town, volunteer numbers have remained fairly steady over the past few years. For anyone interested in joining, Martineau reassures that no experience or prior training is required, and that all necessary training is provided by the firehouse.
“On occasion, we gain members who have prior experience, but the majority join with no experience at all,” he said.
The Training Process
Martineau explained that members who sign up to become volunteer firefighters receive free training, including education in the American Heart Association CPR, AED, and First Aid. Volunteers will also go through the department’s in-house Probationary Training Program.
“This gets people familiar with our apparatus and equipment, policies, and some basic operational strategies,” Martineau explained. “This program helps members become comfortable enough so they are ready to respond to alarms in a safe manner and handle basic tasks on scene. To become an Interior Firefighter, members must take the NYS Firefighter 1 course which is offered at the Westchester County Fire Training Center in Valhalla. There are many other NYS courses offered to members, if they wish to train in more specialized areas such as driving apparatus, vehicle extrication, water rescue, etc. Members also participate in in-house training drills on Monday evenings.”
Anyone over the age of 16 is encouraged to apply to the Pleasantville Fire Department and help their neighbors in need! Martineau explains that volunteers can also choose to work as interior firefighters, who should meet certain physical requirements, or exterior firefighters, who assist with scene support and carry out many important tasks at fires and other alarms.
The value in bringing more people on board is not necessarily improving response times, as Martineau explains that Pleasantville FD is fortunate enough to already have a team of dedicated members who respond quickly when dispatched, but that “they will provide more helping hands at alarms, drills, and other PFD events.”
Working together so often and entrusting one another with their lives makes for a unique bond between members of the department.
“The firehouse is a relaxed, friendly, and supportive environment,” Martineau said. “For many members, their strongest friendships have been made within the firehouse and these friendships last for years, even when members leave the department.”
As far as balancing work and family life in addition to volunteer work, Martineau notes that “the firehouse is also very family oriented. Spouses and families are frequent visitors to the firehouse for events and functions.”
This fall, the department is offering several events and outreach for the Pleasantville community to get involved in and learn about fire safety and prevention in the home.
“Each September, we run a fire prevention program at the Bedford Road Elementary School for students in grades K-4,” Martineau said. “Early fire prevention education is an important component of keeping residents safe. We also participate in programs at the Pleasantville Middle School and Pleasantville High School. Events at Pleasantville High School also serve as important recruitment events since students ages 16 to 17 can join our Junior Corps program.”
Martineau also encouraged members of the Pleasantville community to attend the firehouse’s biennial Open House event, during or around National Fire Prevention Week from October 9 to October 15. There, the department will provide information about home safety, fire extinguisher use, and other important safety information for Pleasantville families.
The volunteer application can be found at pleasantvillefd.com. All are encouraged to lend their time to help their neighbors in need!
For more about volunteer firefighting, please visit https://www.theinsidepress.com/our-volunteer-firefighters-tradition-sacrifice-and-rewards/ by Ella Ilan which also spotlighted volunteer efforts and other highlights of the Briarcliff, Ossining and Pleasantville Departments.