Snyder Volunteers Go 100 Per Cent for Radio
The Snyder Volunteer Fire Company recently laid claim to becoming New York State’s first completely radioequipped group. The new facilities consist of the installation of short wave radio receivers in the homes of the volunteer department’s 70 men.
The $15,000 system will be used to notify fire fighters of the location of a fire when an alarm is received at the Amherst police station.
Chief Francis B. Ludwig said the greatest asset of the new radio system is that all firemen will know the location of any fire before the traditional warning siren atop the fire hall is sounded.
“Whenever that siren blows, hundreds of curious people begin tying up our telephone lines, asking the location of the fire. Then they follow the trucks and usually hamper our work,” said Chief Ludwig. The radios will eliminate much of the traffic problem of sightseers at the scenes of fires.
Chief Ludwig said the receivers in the homes of his men will greatly increase the company’s efficiency and give added fire protection to the district’s 5000 homes. The district consists of $33 millions worth of assessed valuation.
“I think it’s the greatest single step forward we’ve taken since we installed two-way radios in all our apparatus,” the chief said.
The fire siren will continue to be sounded during the day, said Chief Ludwig, but will not be used at night.
“We are always short of men during the day when most of our members are working, so we’ll continue to use the siren to alert anyone who may be in the vicinity but may not be home to hear the radio alarm,” he explained.
Innovations are not unique to the Snyder department. Officials of the company, teaming with fellow firemen in neighboring Eggertsville and Williamsville, established a mutual aid hre system nearly 25 years ago, long before the present Erie County-wide program was set up. Snyder also was the county’s first company to install two-way radios in all trucks.
Chief Ludwig said the most important part of a volunteer company’s setup is not the equipment but the men who operate it.
“Most other companies allow social members to join,” he said. “These fellows don’t fight fires but just join to take advantage of occasional company social functions. We don’t allow this. Every member has to participate in a certain percentage of drills, respond to fires and be on all-night duty at the fire hall occasionally or else he is dismissed.”