Bath Fire Department

Bath, Maine is called the City of Ships because Bath Iron Works Corporation is located here. They build ships in many classes such as destroyers, frigates, & cruisers for the U.S. Navy. The ship pictured on the patch worn on the firefighters' uniforms is the U.S.S. Drayton. It was built by BIW and launched 22 August 1910. It is the first destroyer built by BIW. Firefighter Bud Greenleaf designed this patch.

Bath Fire & Rescue proudly protects 10,000 (12,000 summer) people living in an area of 15 square miles from one station that protects a primarily residential area. The department is a combination of paid & volunteer members.



The department is comprised of a Fire Chief, four House Captains (Shift Officers), twelve shift Firefighter/EMT's and two Day Firefighter/EMT's. There is a billet for 36 Call (volunteer) Firefighters.

Schedule: Four Shifts, 24 hours on duty/72 hours off duty, 42-hour work week. Two day shift working 0700-2100 six days per week.

Member Maine State Retirement System: Two-thirds annual wage @ 25 years (no age) with COLA.

There is a mutual aid agreement with 10 communities. The rescue service is licensed at EMT-B and permitted to Paramedic Level (also transport service). There is a contract with one bordering community to provide rescue services.

Ambulance billing is contracted out to Medical Reimbursement Services in Windham, Maine. For all questions on ambulance bills, please call Diane Tanerillo, President, at 207-892-0020 or toll free at 1-800-734-6677. Fax: #207-893-0583 or e-mail:


"Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat" â?? that's the message of this year's Fire Prevention Week. From October 8-14, 2006 we'll be spreading the word that more fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home â?? and teaching families and kids how to keep cooking fires from starting in the first place.

Commemorating a conflagration

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow - belonging to Mrs. Catherine O'Leary - kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you've heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O'Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.

The 'Moo' myth

Like any good story, the 'case of the cow' has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O'Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O'Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out - or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O'Leary herself swore that she'd been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.

But if a cow wasn't to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O'Leary's may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth on October 8, starting several fires that day - in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.

The biggest blaze that week

While the Great Chicago Fire was the best-known blaze to start during this fiery two-day stretch, it wasn't the biggest. That distinction goes to the Peshtigo Fire, the most devastating forest fire in American history. The fire, which also occurred on October 8th, 1871, and roared through Northeast Wisconsin, burning down 16 towns, killing 1,152 people, and scorching 1.2 million acres before it ended.

Historical accounts of the fire say that the blaze began when several railroad workers clearing land for tracks unintentionally started a brush fire. Before long, the fast-moving flames were whipping through the area 'like a tornado,' some survivors said. It was the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin that suffered the worst damage. Within an hour, the entire town had been destroyed.

Eight decades of fire prevention

Those who survived the Chicago and Peshtigo fires never forgot what they'd been through; both blazes produced countless tales of bravery and heroism. But the fires also changed the way that firefighters and public officials thought about fire safety. On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should henceforth be observed not with festivities, but in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. The commemoration grew incrementally official over the years.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.

Fire Prevention Week themes over the years:

1958 Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1959 Fire Prevention is Your Jobâ?¦Too

1960 Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1961 Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1962 Fire Prevention is Your Jobâ?¦Too

1963 Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1964 Fire Prevention is Your Jobâ?¦Too

1965 Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1966 Fight Fire

1967 Fire Hurts

1968 Fire Hurts

1969 Fire Hurts

1970 Fire Hurts

1971 Fire Hurts

1972 Fire Hurts

1973 Help Stop Fire

1974 Things That Burn

1975 Learn Not to Burn

1976 Learn Not to Burn

1977 Where There's Smoke, There Should Be a Smoke Alarm

1978 You Are Not Alone!

1979 Partners in Fire Prevention

1980 Partners in Fire Prevention

1981 EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home)

1982 Learn Not To Burn - Wherever You Are

1983 Learn Not To Burn All Through the Year

1984 Join the Fire Prevention Team

1985 Fire Drills Save Lives at Home at School at Work

1986 Learn Not to Burn: It Really Works!

1987 Play It Safeâ?¦Plan Your Escape

1988 A Sound You Can Live With: Test Your Smoke Detector

1989 Big Fires Start Small: Keep Matches and Lighters in the Right Hands

1990 Keep Your Place Firesafe: Hunt for Home Hazards

1991 Fire Won't Wait...Plan Your Escape.

1992 Test Your Detector - It's Sound Advice!

1993 Get Out, Stay Out: Your Fire Safe Response

1994 Test Your Detector For Life

1995 Watch What You Heat: Prevent Home Fires!

1996 Let's Hear It For Fire Safety: Test Your Detectors!

1997 Know When to Go: React Fast to Fire

1998 Fire Drills: The Great Escape!

1999 Fire Drills: The Great Escape!

2000 Fire Drills: The Great Escape!

2001 Cover the Bases & Strike Out Fire

2002 Team Up for Fire Safety

2003 When Fire Strikes: Get Out! Stay Out!

2004 It's Fire Prevention Week! Test Your Smoke Alarms

2005 Use Candles With Care

2006 Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat

Tips for safer cooking

More fires start in the kitchen than in any other part of the home. Why is the kitchen such a danger zone? Too often people fail to pay attention to what's cooking, and the consequences can be far worse than burned food. Like any home fire, cooking fires spread quickly, leaving you just minutes to escape safely. Follow these tips for safer cooking:

Stand by your pan!

***Most fires in the kitchen occur because cooking is left unattended. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.

***If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

***If you are simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.

No kids allowed!

***Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.

***When young children are in the home, use the stove's back burners whenever possible, and turn pot handles back to reduce the risk that pots with hot contents will be knocked over.

***Never hold a small child while cooking.

Keep it clean!

***Keep anything that can catch fireâ??pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtainsâ??away from your stove top.

***Clean up food and grease from burners and the stovetop.

***Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Loose clothing can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.

Microwave with care!

***Plug the microwave oven directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a microwave as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.

***Use only microwave-safe containers to heat food.

***Allow food to cool for a minute or more before you remove it from the microwave.

***Open microwaved containers slowly as hot steam escaping from the containers can cause painful burns. Be sure to let food and liquid cool before you eating them.

***Never use aluminum foil or metal objects in a microwave oven. They can cause a fire or burn hazard and damage the oven.

Kitchen Fires 101

While the following tips can help you put out a small kitchen fire, never forget how dangerous fire can be. If you are unable to put out the fire, get out of the home and call the fire department. When in doubt, get out!

***If you have a fire in your microwave, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.

***Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when you're cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. To keep the fire from restarting, don't remove the lid until the pan is completely cool.

***In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.

***Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of an emergency. Make sure that you know what type of fire the extinguisher will put out and how it works before an emergency occurs.

Number of volunteer firefighters is declining

By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. ? It took 26 fire companies from three counties last year to fight the fire at Dino's Grille, a two-story wood structure that ignited on a hot Tuesday morning in this town outside Harrisburg. The local volunteer chief still fumes just thinking about it.

When Monte Supko arrived at the scene, he signaled other volunteer departments in the area for help. He needed firefighters. But what he got, mostly, was firetrucks ? many with only one or two people aboard.

By the time sufficient manpower was assembled and the fire extinguished, Dino's was a smoking wreck. "A parade of half-million dollar firetrucks didn't help much," he says. "I got mad, because we've waited so long to address the problem."

The problem is this: The volunteer fire company, an institution that dates to Ben Franklin, is slowly going the way of the horse-drawn pumper.

Blame it on the changes in society: longer commutes, two-income households, year-round youth sports, chain stores that won't release workers at midday to jump on a firetruck. Blame it on new folks in town who don't even know the department is volunteer. Blame it on stricter training requirements and fewer big fires and the lure of paying fire jobs in the cities.

There is no greater, longer-running expression of volunteerism in U.S. history than the volunteer fire service, which still saves taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Almost three-fourths of the nation's 1.1. million firefighters are volunteers, and two-thirds of all fire departments are volunteer.

In many communities, the volunteer fire company is a social and civic anchor. Members organize the Fourth of July parade and hang the holiday decorations on Main Street. The volunteer firehouse is the scene of scout meetings, wedding receptions, service club luncheons and knitting bees. It's a place to vote, drink, or hang out.

But even though emergency calls are up, the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped nationally more than 10% over the past two decades. The decline is particularly steep in the Northeast. Pennsylvania, which had about 300,000 volunteers three decades ago, is down to 72,000. New York state, which had 140,000 15 years ago, now has 96,000.

The kinds of volunteers who used to be able to cover weekday calls ? farmers, shop owners, factory shift workers ? are becoming as rare as a firehouse Dalmatian.

Supko remembers when his fire company got a new member a month; there wasn't enough room on its firetrucks for everyone. Now, he says, "nobody wants to join."

The department, which counted 30 active firefighters in the 1970s, is down to fewer than 20. A program to groom high school students has five members, a third of what it used to. It's an issue of time: potential volunteers have less, and firefighting requires more.

Consider training. Once, a novice received basic instruction from his colleagues and learned the rest on the job. Today, most departments require more than 100 hours of initial instruction, plus weekly drills and annual refresher courses for everything from first aid to anti-terrorism.

Then there's fundraising. Because the number of departments has not fallen along with the number of volunteers ? tradition-proud companies are usually reluctant to merge ? there's duplication of costly equipment and firehouses.

Fundraising, not firefighting

Supko's company must raise $10,000 of its $12,000 annual budget. "We do more fundraising than firefighting," he complains.

The company runs bingo games two nights a week and a series of Saturday chicken barbecues. Supko says all the fundraising drives some people away and makes those who do volunteer less willing to attend drills and training sessions.

At the same time, firefighting isn't what it used to be. As buildings have gotten safer, fire calls increasingly consist of what firefighters disdainfully call "smells and bells."

Smells (someone sniffs something and calls 911 without checking to see if there's a fire) and bells (false house alarms) "are basically a waste of time," says Vincent McNally, director of the public safety program at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia and a veteran volunteer fire officer.

"There was more good work when I started," he says. "Now we're like an army that rarely gets to fight a battle. It's hard to get people to spend a lot of time training and waiting for a few real calls."

The "Firefighters Needed" signs outside thousands of firehouses have not solved the recruiting crisis. The only thing that seems to work is one that makes a department volunteer in name only: pay.

A growing number of "volunteer" departments rely on government funds to pay for a few fulltime firefighters; to pay volunteers per call or per hour; or to pay for volunteers' health insurance or pensions.

"People have to realize that volunteerism isn't free any more," says Al Musicant, New Jersey director of the National Volunteer Fire Council. "You're going to have to give volunteers a stipend."

That will be expensive; the National Volunteer Fire Council says volunteers provide about $37 billion a year in free fire services.

Even limited compensation bodes ill for the future of volunteerism. Once a department starts paying, it's on a slippery slope.

The "combination" department ? an increasingly popular hybrid with volunteers and full timers ? is often just a stage on the route to a force of full time, career firefighters.

The demographics promise to get worse. In many places volunteer fire fighting is a tradition passed down through families and friends. Fewer volunteers today means even fewer tomorrow.

"To be honest with you," says Robbie Honeycutt, chief of the Robinson Volunteer Fire Department outside Charlotte, "the volunteer fire service is a dyin' breed."

Response times holding

So far, declining volunteerism appears to have had little effect on fire protection. The National Fire Protection Association and the Insurance Service Organization, which rates local fire risks, say there's no sign that call response times are up.

That's probably explained by several factors: neighboring volunteer companies increasingly cover for each other, especially weekdays; fires have become less common and less severe, thanks to sprinklers and smoke detectors; and departments are doing the job with fewer people.

But a report issued in June by a Pennsylvania legislative commission said that 40% of fire chiefs surveyed said they had been unable to respond to at least some calls because of a lack of volunteer turnout.

Three cases where the shortage of manpower was apparent:

? In Alexis, N.C., the volunteer company missed its first call in memory when a medical emergency failed to rouse a single volunteer in March. Another department eventually handled the call, but the county subsequently agreed to pay for two part-time firefighters. As a result, the fire tax on a $100,000 house rose from $45 to $65 a year.

? When a house caught fire in Mecklenburg County outside Charlotte this year, a truck from Chief Honeycutt's local volunteer company arrived at the scene at the same time as an assisting truck from the Charlotte Fire Department. The homeowner complained to a local television station about the delay, noting that the firehouse was only a couple of miles away.

? In the 1980s, the volunteer company in Adamsburg, Pa., had a waiting list for members. Last year, the department failed to answer one call; no volunteer responded to the alarm. (Although some departments still use a siren, most now raise their volunteers primarily by cellphone or beeper). It was a false alarm, but Fire Chief Don Thoma, who works nights, says he's afraid to take a new job because there'd be no one to cover weekdays. "

A year after the fire at Dino's, the building is unoccupied. The blaze might have done as much damage if more firefighters arrived sooner, but Chief Supko estimates that it took 20 minutes to deploy the number of men and lines he needed when it should have taken two.

It could have been worse. Supko says he had to send firefighters in to search for occupants before he had others to come to their rescue if something went wrong.

"We have to let people know how dangerous this situation is," he says. "We're asking for some help." By that he means money, possibly credits or pensions for volunteers.

But it may be too late for the volunteer fire company as a social institution. "It was the blue-collar country club," says McNally. "You could shoot a little pool and have a beer. It's a relic of a simpler time. But society has changed. The world has changed."


On May 29, 1994 the City of Bath, Maine Fire Department and the Associacao Humanitaria dos Bombeiros Voluntarios de Cascais, Portugal entered into an official PROTOCOL OF TWINNING signed by Fire Chief Ronald F. Clark (Bath) and Rui Sousa Dias Rama da Silva, President of the Board (Cascais).

It reads:

Protocol of Twinning

Friendship and solidarity are universal values important to defend and about which all fire fighters around the world are particularly sensitive. pBased on this principle, the Humanitarian Association of Volunteer Fire Fighters of Cascais and the Fire Department of Bath, Maine in the United States, respectfully represented by the President of the Board, Rui Sousa Dias Rama da Silva, and Chief Ronald Clark, have decided to unite their departments to develop ties profound collaboration and exchange.

The two entities intend to cooperate in common task to benefit the communities they serve, Cascais and Bath.

This cooperation will be based on a mutual exchange to establish procedures in the area of training, the discussion of strategies and other forms of firefighting.

This exchange presupposes regular visits between the fire departments on an annual basis, if possible.

The two departments, showing the willingness to cooperate in the largest sense, may further unite the two cities that the departments are based in, Cascais and Bath.

Risk Watch Saves and Success are case histories of actual incidents in which the knowledge gained from Risk Watch has been put into action. A Save occurs when an individual's actions, learned from Risk Watch, result in the preservation of human life, or whose positive intervention has prevented or minimized a potentially harmful situation. A Success occurs when an individual's actions, learned from Risk Watch, reduce the dangers of a potentially harmful situation.

Old Town, ME--On the afternoon of October 29, 2002, 12-year-old Matt Thebarge used the lessons he learned in Risk Watch to help save his brother's life. Matt's 10-year-old brother Josh was sucking on a jawbreaker candy when it became lodged in his throat. Matt immediately began to do the Heimlich maneuver, while the boys' mother called 9-1-1. After three attempts, Matt cleared Josh's airway. Although he was no longer choking when the rescue personnel arrived, Josh was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. Matt later told his mother that he learned how to do the Heimlich in health class and had also seen it on TV. Risk Watch was incorporated into the health curriculum in Old Town, Maine, in 2001 after Assistant Fire Chief James Lavoie of the Old Town Fire Department met with the school system's curriculum coordinator about the program. Currently, Risk Watch is being taught in 38 classrooms from kindergarten to fifth grade in the community.

This February in a one-week period, the city of Portland, Maine would experience eight fires that would cause over $550,000 worth of damage due to candles. Candles would be our number one cause for fire for the year 2004.

Candle Safety Tips

Put candles on a solid non-combustible base and out of reach of children and animals.

After lighting a candle put matches or propane lighters in a safe place out of sight and reach of children.

Do not place candles near Christmas Trees or combustible materials.

Make sure that candles are not left unattended.

Make sure that candles are properly extinguished when leaving the home or retiring for the evening.

Be sure that the candle is out before disposing of it.

Give a gift of life this season, keep your friends and family safe from harm, and buy each a smoke detector. If you already have a smoke detector: Be sure that your detector is maintained and working properly.

Please remember a smoke detector will only live for 6 years.

You have to change the batteries in your smoke detector every 6 months. Easy ways to remember is when you change your clock for daylight savings you change your batteries. Test your detector weekly.

Have a smoke detector at each level of your home and in all bedrooms.

Make sure your family has a home fire escape plan and that you practice it at least twice a year.