Think you have what it takes to save a life or rush into danger when others sit by or run in the opposite direction? Do you feel a sense of duty or a call to aid the community through
something more than ordinary means?
Then, Delran Township has the perfect job for you: Joining the brave souls as a member of the Delran Fire Department.
“As of right now, we probably sit around 120 members, and that’s pretty consistent throughout the years. We’ve been good about getting young recruits and getting them to stick,” said Chief Kevin Peak.
One reason younger recruits are needed, arrives when older members take different jobs at
other departments either in state or out of state. Peak related that Delran has seen a good
number of people start their careers there before building good careers elsewhere.
Usually, the department doesn’t have to actively recruit, but DFD hasn’t seen an uptick in the number of people who wish to join for months. While there’s no specific time of the year a call for new firefighters is made, Peak realized that, this year, there’s been less interest shown than in prior years.
“We never look for a certain amount,” Peak said. “I know Station 2 is doing well right now.
Station 1 has gotten a few members, and they’re starting to regain their original staffing
Becoming a firefighter is a path which can begin as early as the teenage years and gradually grows in responsibility.
“(A recruit) will join at the age of 14, as junior members. From the ages of 14 to 17, they learn everything from what the fire service does on a daily basis [to] what the department does on calls,” Peak said.
“They begin to do certain physical drills, but some are not allowed due to safety concerns or are reserved for more senior members. They’ll come to all meetings throughout this time.”
Once prospective members are 17- to 18- years- old, the department increases the level of
responsibility and will offer the recruits the chance to expand their knowledge.
“At that age, they can apply to fire school, either Mercer County, Camden County and Burlington County,” he said. “Right now, we have five members enrolled—four in Burlington and one in Camden.”
In Burlington County, recruits are not allowed to experience active fire calls until they are 18. Then, once a recruit completes fire school, he or she is qualified for a ride-along.
Once these brave souls withstand the first four years of their training, it’s not too much longer before they can call themselves one of the “bravest.”
“As soon as they fill out the application for choice of station, they get assigned to the station closest to geographic location, or ease of transport,” Peak said. “It doesn’t do a lot of good for a recruit to live two blocks from a station but have to cross a major highway, because of the nature of how quick the calls can be.”
Following further certification from the state’s Division of Fire and Safety, recruits can take a more active roll on calls. For the first year, recruits are on probation at their assigned station, but after that, they’re considered a full-fledged firefighter.
The department also offers more chances to broaden recruits’ knowledge of life-saving
techniques with additional classes in operations such as ice rescue, river rescue and advanced vehicle rescue training.
“The better they’re trained, the more valuable they are to the crew and to the department they’re working with,” he said.
To learn more about the Delran Fire Department, please visit: http://www.delranfire.org.