How We Are Staffed and How We Respond
Founded in 1927, the Bethel Park Fire Company is a 100% volunteer organization for both administrative and operational functions of the fire company. Simply stated, we do not have anyone staffing our stations and we respond to emergencies when dispatched.
Elections for both operations and executive positions in the fire company are held annually. Approvals for expenditures are made by our Board of Directors and then ratified by our General Membership. Until 2014 we were primarily funded by donations alone. In 2013, a fire tax of .34 mils was passed by a referendum vote. This fire tax goes to the Municipality of Bethel Park who as of 2014, now owns and maintains our stations, that we lease from them. The fire tax is to pay for the new station on Brightwood Road and maintain our other two stations on Milford and Clifton Roads.
The BPVFC is still a stand-alone organization, and we continue to rely on donations for the day-to-day operations of the fire company, which includes our equipment, vehicles, and materials needed to allow the organization to operate.
Bethel Park does not have any paid firefighters, so our stations are never regularly staffed. We recently had someone ask how our response works since our stations are not staffed. Here is an explanation of how things work for the BPVFC response.
- A call is placed to either 911 or 412-833-2000 which is the BP Police Emergency Dispatch center. Even if you call 911, you will be transferred to the BP Police dispatch, so it is much more efficient to call them directly at 412-833-2000 if you need emergency services in BP.
- Once the BP Police dispatcher determines you need our fire company to respond, they activate our pagers and provide a voice message telling us the emergency and location. They also send out a notification to our phones via an application called Active 911. Active 911 allows responders to click into what station they are responding to, so our officers know if we have enough responders or if we need to call for more assistance. This program also provides us with a map of the address and the hydrants nearby.
- After we receive notification, any available volunteers will begin to respond. Our Chief Officers may respond to the scene while other Line Officers and firefighters will respond to the station. Depending on the severity of the emergency, some volunteers may use blue courtesy lights in their vehicles to ask other cars to move to the side so they can pass and get to the station quicker.
- Once at the station, our firefighters will put on their gear, get in the trucks, and respond to the scene. We won’t always use the lights and sirens; it just depends on the severity of the emergency.
As you can see, we rely solely on volunteers being able to respond at a moment’s notice. This is why we are always looking for more volunteers. The more volunteers we have, the more likely we are to have enough volunteers able to respond. We are also extremely grateful to any employers who allow our volunteers to leave for emergencies.