Pools Filled in our Fire District
that time of year! Filling your pool with water? See us doing a drill
or heard we “fill pools?” So, while we do not answer questions for other departments,
we can answer some frequently asked questions.....about water and pools.
1. Yes, we do fill pools.
First, it is as time permits.
2. Why? We think it provides a couple objectives.
It is sort of a community service. Primarily, we do it for “drill
practice” wherein the truck operators practice “water supply”
and drafting water (sucking it up from the lake).
3. Lake water?
Yes, it is often lake water. Sometimes, it is drinking water, depends what is on the tanker the day we deliver.
Usually, if you are filling a pool it takes several loads, you WILL get lake water. The fish and birds drink it every
day. People drink it filtered into their wells. :-) If you never used it to fill a pool, it works fine. You
“shock” your pool, wait a day and filter as usual. Takes a
day or so and it is fine.
4. Is it expensive? Everything
is relative. Because of the rising costs of fuel and maintenance to the trucks, we have reluctantly raised
our fee to 4 cents a gallon for the first tanker load (up to 5,000 gallons) and 3 cents a gallon for every following load
for your fill up. Here is a web link to calculate what to expect: http://www.pool1.com/pool_gallon_calculator.htm
There are others online.
5. Who does this again? We are not aware of anyone in our district offering
this, but obviously there are commercial enterprises who will deliver water to you. Some guarantee drinking water,
clear spring water, etc. Some even heat and treat it. We offer Kinderhook
Lake’s finest. :-) We do not try and compete. We do want to help
those in our district who need us, and help us practice our craft.
can you do it? We do it when time and equipment is available. First, do understand if a fire alarm
come is, we will have to reschedule. Thankfully, the summer is usually
quiet, but it does happen. Generally, we try and schedule these early
evenings when three or four members are available. We have to put a truck at the lake to pump
water, and a tanker to shuttle it to your pool. Usually, we schedule these within a few days. Bear in mind,
we are all volunteers trying to help. We do not get paid. We have
things to do, but we “donate” the time needed for our practice and
to help you. Please be patient.
7. Will you wreck my lawn?
Hopefully, no. :-) The tanker with water is over 55,000 pounds. We will use hoses to fill your pool. Takes time.
We will require someone be home, and we often will have someone stop by to look it over before the delivery.
Do you like pool parties? Well, yes we do. We are just like everyone else. We probably will skip
a dip that day. We also have strict policy about drinking and operating equipment. But we like a cold soda on
a hot day. :-) We rarely will say no to a slice of pizza. We find all the pizza places and sub makers nearby do a
good job. But, we do not need anything that day. We have a gym room
to maintain fitness. The staff who use it make fun of those of us who
only know where it is in the station. But, we fill pools as volunteers. It’s
just a job. One of many. We almost always have applications with us. Ask; we will explain what it takes
to be a member of the proud group of men and women of the Niverville Fire Department.
9. What if my pool
just needs a foot of water and I can’t use my well? As we said, this is practice and a community service.
If your pool is an above ground 18 foot pool and it needs a foot of water, we will come, sure. No problem. Using
the calculator, that comes out to 1,900 gallons or $76.00. There is also a gauge on the truck that gives us a similar
answer. Without a calculator, we might “guess” 2,000 gallons or so and with our great mathematical skills
guess $80.00 it is not much more scientific than that. We are just trying to make sure we cover the costs of fuel for two
trucks, and the wear and tear of maintenance. We are not trying to run
a moneymaking operation. But, in fairness to the District we serve that
do not have pools, we try and just cover expenses. We are your neighbors, pretty much.
10. How many
pools in the District? Good question. Hundreds. Thankfully, they do
not all need to be filled from scratch every year! :-)
11. How do I arrange this?
Generally the best way to do so is to call our Station # 1 anytime at (518) 784-3300.
Never call “911" as that is NOT answered in our station. “911"
is answered at the Public Safety center in Greenport by emergency dispatchers.
They handle all land based and cell callers looking for police, fire and ambulance
assistance anywhere in Columbia County. They should not be called for non-emergency requests like pool fills.
They do have a non-emergency number, (518) 828-4114,
to ask questions and report things like controlled burns. But, they do
not handle day-to-day functions of any of the departments. Please, only
call our station at 784-3300. Generally, someone will call you back in a day or two,
often, sooner. Just leave a message, your name, a description what you’ll need, where it
is needed, and a good number to get back in touch.
will I pay? Payment is needed at the time of service. We
take cash or checks. We do not have a credit card service.
13. What if I
like your staff so much I want to donate more? You can always donate to our fire
department. We are not part of the government. We do receive the
majority of our funding to operate from the Town of Kinderhook followed by the
Town of Chatham. We are a “not for profit” corporation. Your donation(s) are tax deductible under
the Internal Revenue Service and the state of New York. We can issue
you a receipt for donations. However, also understand the IRS and State
regulations are strict in what a donation is. This means, it must be a donation that
is not tied to a service. The pool fil is not a deductible donation (though we wish it could be).
Anything above the fee is, though. We are not the IRS. You do not
need to tip the staff. They do like pizza and soda, though. :-)
14. Anything else you guys need? Sort of off topic. We respond to a lot
of car accidents. We always need cars to practice “extrication.”
Using a lot of various tools (you are probably familiar with the “jaws
of life” but there are actually quite a few more and different tools used).
With the popularity of “junking” cars, no one has them around much. We do issue a tax receipt
for those cars donated to us. We use a few each year in drills.
We will dispose of it, or you can have it back if you want to “junk”
it. But, that’s off topic.
15. Sounds like fun, can I join?
Well, since we are off topic now, sure. Ages 16 until your 18th birthday, you can join the
department as a Junior Firefighter. On your 18th birthday, you will become
a full firefighter. There is a lot of training needed for some tasks. There
are some firefighters that complete “Scene Support” and their main function is to support “Interior”
or air pack firefighters who enter burning buildings. Interior firefighters
complete Firefighter I, and some also complete Firefighter II. There are
many more courses. None become interior firefighters without first demonstrating their
skills in training, and back here in the department at drills. Some complete specialized courses
for hazardous materials, swift water rescue, ice rescue, extrication, firefighter
rescue; the courses are many and diverse. Scared of the water? No
problem, everyone has some specialty, everyone has something they’d rather not do based on fear. Afraid of
heights? Why would we put you on a ladder or roof? Plenty of things
to do well, we will assign you an appropriate task based on your skills.
Essentially, the motivation of the volunteer and their time available are the main factors
in the type of job and training taken. If you are motivated, we will present tons of opportunity to
excel. All we ask is your motivation to help your neighbors and fellow firefighters
by showing up and trying hard. We do require you attend sufficient training
and drills, and answer 20% of the calls for service annually. If you are still in school or college,
the calls for service while in school do not count against you, either. Education is
very important to us. Generally, our experience is those who stay a year
never miss the calls for service requirement. We have staff that work in Albany
and have no trouble making the minimums. And, no, we do not want you racing back here, either. In
reality, most members make 50% and up. If you make drills and a couple calls
a week, you will exceed minimums an likely make the top half fairly easily.
With modern building codes, there are not as many fires as there were 30 years ago. We like that.