What are Fire Police? What do they do?
All Guts, No Glory
The PA Vehicle Code section 3102 – Obedience to Authorized Persons Directing Traffic states the following: No person shall willfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any uniformed police officer, sheriff or constable or, in an emergency, a railroad or street railway police officer; or any appropriately attired person – i.e. Fire Police Personnel.
Let’s envision that it’s Friday evening after a long day at work, add in some freezing rain with plummeting temperatures. The families already home and waiting on you for dinner. Wait, what’s that ahead, flashing lights in the distance, brake lights from the cars in-front. Great, just what you needed, stuck in traffic on a cold, miserable evening while loved ones wait at home for your arrival. As you make your way through the scene your lights catch the high-vis yellow reflective gear worn by Fire Police Personnel. Imagine, you’ve been in this traffic for about twenty minutes, warm and dry with the heater going and your favorite radio station playing. The Fire Police Personnel you just past, has been at his or her post for over an hour, he or she is long past cold and wet, but they have no time to lament about their discomfort or the family they have waiting for them, there is a job to do and people to keep safe. Those people are you, the person just trying to get home and the other first responders working to investigate the accident and clear the roadway.
Why are we discussing Fire Police, after all no one makes movies or TV shows about the men and women who direct traffic, close roadways and help secure incident scenes for both fire and police departments. Make no mistake about what these individuals do every time they are called for assistance, they save lives. It is largely unquantifiable because by their mere presence accidents are avoided, damaged lives and property are kept whole. So I ask you to keep these thoughts with you the next time you hear a siren or see the flashing lights, it is very likely that a volunteer is leaving the comforts of their home, donning their fire police safety equipment and responding to help a stranger, not for the money, there is none, not for the glory there won’t be any, but simply because these heroes have the guts to stand the line.
Gary L. Baumgardner – Chief of Police Conewago Township