Saturday, July 12, 2014

Franklin Twp. shows off upgrade

May 05. 2013 11:16PM

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FRANKLIN TWP. — The Franklin Township Fire Company held an open house on Sunday to showcase its new training facility upgrade.

Maureen Oremus, first assistant chief, said Sunday’s event gave the community a chance to see the new training facility and learn about what services are available there.

It includes a 40-by 60-foot hall that seats more than 200, she said. It can be rented for weddings or other events. The company also plans to use it for a wide range of training. Recently, 28 people attended a session on how to use breathing apparatus, she said.

In the near future there will be vehicle rescue training, propane gas training and “maze” training in which firefighters crawl through a dark building to rescue victims.

Oremus said the company is in contact with local community colleges on a regular basis to keep up on the latest training for its staff and members of the community. Oremus and other officers also visit local elementary schools to highlight fire safety. More than 600 children have been visited and comforted by knowing the company is there for their good, she said.

“We want to let our community and children know we are interested in their safety.”

Second Assistant Chief Doug Farr applied for the state grant used to fund the upgrades. Oremus said the ladies auxiliary also contributed a large sum of money.

With 11 active members and six junior members, the company serves more than 2,000 homes within a 16-mile radius in the Back Mountain. It handled more than 130 calls last year and works cooperatively with nearby companies in an effort to promote fire safety and serve the community needs according to its officers.

Farr said the company was able to use the grant money to pay for the facility upgrade since its equipment is all paid off at this time. It currently has one tanker, a brush truck, one engine, and a mini pumper. In addition, the company has a “smokehouse” it uses to train visitors on how to survive in a burning building.

Chief Harry Sweppenheiser said Franklin Township residents have been very supportive of the company over the last several years, citing that they participate heavily in the fundraisers and dinners.

“We have good communication with our community. We’re good neighbors,” he said. He also lauded the efforts of his firefighters. “They are a very dedicated and professional group. They are here for the community and will do whatever they can do.”

Sweppenheiser noted the facility upgrades were necessary. Established in 1950, there were a lot of “add-ons” over the years, he said. Now the facility is up to modern code.

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