Since announcing its volunteer recruitment campaign one year ago, Centre Square Fire Company is successfully bringing in new recruits. Last August, Centre Square Fire Company launched its new recruitment website, www.CentreSquareFire.org, and has received 11 volunteer inquiries with 7 recruits officially joining the team.
“The campaign brought more awareness of the fire company’s need for more volunteers and has sparked the community’s interest to see what volunteering at Centre Square Fire Company is all about,” said firefighter Matt Kozeniewski. “We have gained valued team members throughout the campaign thus far and are looking forward to what the next three years bring.”
Joining Centre Square Fire Company
A helicopter pilot in the Marines, Vincent Ciuccoli, returned to the U.S. from Japan and was looking for a way to get involved in his community. After he saw Centre Square’s lawn signs around town and spoke to some members at a community event, he decided to sign up to volunteer.
“Volunteering is an amazing experience. It’s what I expected and more,” said Ciuccoli, who has been volunteering since last summer.
Ciuccoli plans to maintain a similar sense of civic duty and work with a great team of people that the Marines offered, and Centre Square can also provide.
Another recruit, Gino Coleman, joined Centre Square Fire Company in April of this year to help advance his goal of entering the military as a Naval Aviator. Coleman feels that by volunteering in the fire service it will assist him in the military application process.
Tyler Steffy, a third recruit, joined the Centre Square team last summer due to his strong family’s history of volunteering with various other fire companies.
“I have a family history of volunteering in fire departments with both my uncles and grandfather serving in their communities throughout their entire adult lives,” said Steffy. “I want to make a positive difference in our community and believe that firefighting is one way that I can do that.”
Training to Become Firefighters
Ciuccoli, Coleman and Steffy are all in the process of training to become Firefighter I certified. No experience is required to join Centre Square Fire Company. The company provides training including drills every Monday night at the station as well as training at local, state and national levels.
“I’ve had a lot of adventures as a helicopter pilot in the Marines, but every Monday night is a new and exciting adventure for me,” said Ciuccoli. “They pair me up with someone more experienced and give me the opportunity to continue growing in various skills.”
He recalls that one of his favorite training sessions was when they teamed up in pairs to rescue a fellow firefighter in the dark. The scenario practiced at this session was to improve Rapid Intervention Team skills in case of a firefighter in distress on a fire scene.
“It was physically demanding, but you also had to think,” he explained.
The new recruits learn how to use a fire hydrant, Personal Protective Equipment, air packs, administer CPR, how to properly communicate with different sectors of emergency services, as well as many other necessary skills.
The training has also been impactful in Steffy’s career. As the director of student life at Montgomery County Community College, risk management plays a crucial role.
“With having more training in emergency services, it allows me to have more situational awareness that can help me make events safer at the college,” said Steffy.
Additionally, Coleman says the most valuable thing he’s learned is how to keep cool under pressure.
“It’s important to take deep breaths, relax, and remain composed on calls that could be stressful,” he said.
Serving the Community
Centre Square Fire Company has served the community of Whitpain Township since 1913. Coleman grew up in Centre Square and wanted to serve the community he has known his whole life.
“Not only does a friend of mine volunteer there, but I chose to volunteer at Centre Square because people there know my family,” he said. “I grew up here, so I’m very familiar with the people and the area.”
Due to Coleman’s distance from the fire company, he typically can’t make the first truck, which usually leaves within the first three to four minutes of a call coming in, so he gets on the next truck if needed. Although he wishes he could make more calls, he enjoys making an impact where he grew up with the time he is able to give.
“I went to Stony Creek Elementary School as a kid and now I had the opportunity to go back as a volunteer and participate in their Water Day, cooling off kids with our truck’s hoses,” said Coleman.
Centre Square Fire Company is committed to serving the community, and providing a welcoming place for volunteers.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity and experiences I’ve had so far,” said Ciuccoli. “It’s definitely a family within the fire company and they’ve really taken me in.”
Seeking New Volunteer Firefighters
To continue to provide high quality service to the community, Centre Square Fire Company is always looking to expand its volunteer rank. They are seeking firefighters, junior firefighters, fire police, and administrative members to join the team. Volunteers are encouraged to show up to train and answer calls as their schedule permits.
“Get to the station whenever you can,” said Ciuccoli. “Whether it’s for a call or drill, it’s best to show up, even if you don’t know everything that’s going on. The Centre Square team will be there to make sure you get the training you need.”
Steffy agrees that the best way to learn is to visit the station, go on calls and ask questions.
“Everyone is so willing to help you learn,” he said. “If you don’t ask questions, it’s hard to learn all of the skills that keep you and others safe on the job.”
To learn more about volunteering at Centre Square Fire Company or to sign up to volunteer, visit www.CentreSquareFire.org.