IFBA Outlines Advantages Gained Through Membership

IFBA Outlines Advantages Gained Through Membership


Bells, Buffs and Blazes

A question frequently posed is: Why belong to the International Fire Buffs Associates . . . What does it do for its members?

The subject is one that many clubs consider and many individual buffs ask themselves when they ponder the advantages of membership.

I’ve wondered about the rationale for membership in IFBA and have, over the years, groped for answers when readers have written about the IFBA. The answers have not, until now, been as well stated as in an editorial appearing in a recent issue of the organization’s publication, Turnout.

“Membership in our national organization,” says an editorial in this magazine, “lends dignity to an interest that, admittedly, has a tendency to sometimes generate suspicion in the minds of the uninitiated . . . Because IFBA has, over the years, built up an enviable reputation for buffs everywhere, it follows, therefore, that our hobby has gained respect and stature in the eyes of the average citizen.

“Another advantage of IFBA membership,” continues the editorial, “lies in the opportunity such membership engenders for meeting fellow buffs from all over the country, to the end that many close and enduring friendships are often created. An IFBA member soon learns that he is not alone in his interest—that from Boston to Seattle and from Grand Rapids to Houston, there are others who equally share his enthusiasm for the ‘world’s most honored profession’—fire fighting.

“A third compelling reason for being an IFBA member (is) that you learn, by association with other buffs, what is expected of you. If your group operates a canteen service, then what better way to learn how to improve your service than to expose yourself to other similarly occupied for, after all, one does learn by association.”

The secretary of the organization is Bill Brennan, 819 Quinton Avenue, Trenton, N. J. 08629, to whom all inquiries should be directed.

The Newark Fire Department Historical Association has at last dedicated its museum with a ribbon-cutting by Mayor Hugh Addonizio, who hefted a fire ax.

The museum chronicles the 169-year history of the Newark, N. J., Fire Department and contains the helmets of 23 firemen killed in action and a hose carriage that was built in 1853 and used for 40 years by Neptune Hose Co. No. 1.

The museum represents a great deal of effort on the part of many firemen and buffs, including Ted Vrana, association secretary, and Captain Robert Wittick, curator and department historian. Members of Newark’s very energetic Bell & Siren Club turned out as a unit to help get the old carriage house in order.

Mention should be made, too, that in South Orange, N. J., there is another superb museum, the New Jersey Fire Museum, where Eugene Morris, founder, holds forth as curator. Of especial interest are several scale-model dioramas of early street scenes and firehouses.

Gaslights flicker in an authentic oldtime firehouse setting, and there is an 1840 vintage pumper, “Eagle No. 5,” plus the “Lady Washington” hose reel dating to 1875. Also on display is a two-wheeled hose-bucket wagon and a 1902 reel.

While firemanic museums, I must confess, aren’t usually my bag, these two sound exceptional and certainly worthy of a visitation.

Mention should be made, too, that Ed Damaschke’s “The Visiting Fireman” is out in its 1967 version. Ed has once again done a fine job of presentation, and if you’re lucky, the stock of these books showing names, addresses and rosters of buffs and organizations might still be available for $1.50, postpaid, from Ed, who manages to keep himself inside Box 55, Ferndale, Mich., 48220. Especially recommended this year: a splendid photo section.

Baltimore’s Pompier Club held its 11th annual Firehouse Oyster Party, an event that recognizes the engine or truck company that is out of sendee for the longest period of time on a single response to an additional alarm of fire.

This year’s winner was Engine 17, whose three shifts lent a hand during a 23-hour, 54-minute paperboard plant fire, a four-bagger. Four hours after the party, Engine 17 moved up on a greater alarm and later responded to a restaurant fire. And who was waiting to greet their arrival? Why, the Pompier Club fire fans, of course.

Hot time in the old town tonight department: Pat Holz of Cincinnati’s Box 13 Club says the club was in formal meeting when the buffs did a fast 23-skidoo as a multiple alarm was pulled for an explosion and fire in a restaurant.

“Fifteen men were injured,” says Pat, “three seriously. The Box 13 group jumped in to lend a hand, with Doc Ed Dulle, a member, quickly going to work to alleviate suffering.” Some 20 engine companies and six aerial outfits were among the rigs that turned out for this fifth-alarmer.

Until next month, please continue to send your news notes and club reports to me at P.O. Box 814, Northridge, Calif., 91.324.


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