Waterloo Volunteer Fire Company
Seneca County Station 16
About the Waterloo Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
The Village of Waterloo New York is located approximately half-way between Rochester and Syracuse in the Finger Lakes Region of New York along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. The canal splits the Village with about two-thirds on the north side of the canal and one-third south side of the canal. Waterloo currently has a population of approximately 5000 people. If the portions of the three surrounding towns that we protect were included in the total, the population would increase to almost 7500.
The Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated by an act of the New York State Legislature in 1830 making us one of the oldest incorporated volunteer fire departments in the State of New York. During our long history, there have been as many as seven separate engine companies in multiple small stations, including one hook & ladder company in our Village. In 1921, the separate companies were re-organized into a membership not-for-profit corporation called the Waterloo Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. working out of two stations on either side of our downtown area. In 1991, we consolidated to our current station where all of our equipment is located. The Department is located on a side street that intersects the main east-west road in our area, NY State Route 5/ US Route 20, at one end of the street and the main north-south road, NY Route 96, at the other end of the street.
We are bordered by and provide, as well as receive, mutual aid to/from, the Junius and Magee Fire Departments to our north, the Seneca Falls Fire Department to our east, the Fayette Fire Department to the south-east, the Varick Fire Department to our south-west, and the Border City Fire Department to our west. We are very appreciative of their and are grateful for the assistance provided by the department located farther away; they are always more than willing to come and assist at any time.
Our organization is set up so that the Village of Waterloo Board of Trustees is our Authority Having Jurisdiction over us. This means we are a municipal department that is part of the Village government. The members and officers of our Company are elected by the Membership but the Village Board has the final approval on new members and line officers. We have two categories of officers, Line Officers and Corporation Officers. The Line Officers include the Chief, two Assistant Chiefs, a Captain, four Lieutenants, a Fire Police Captain, and a Fire Police Lieutenant. The Corporate Officers include the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Custodian, Chaplin, Assistant Chaplin, and a six member Board of Directors who are responsible for controlling Company property. All the officers are elected at our April annual meeting except for the Chief who serves for a two-year term, and the Board of Directors who serve for a staggered three year term so that we only vote for two Board members per year. The Fire Police Captain and Lieutenant are appointed positions that serve at the discretion of the Chiefs.
Our primary source of funds come from the Village through the property taxes and from the monies paid to the Village by the surrounding towns that contract with the Village to provide fire protection, including parts of the Towns of Waterloo and Fayette. Our secondary source of funds is through multiple year-round fund raising activities. We are fortunate enough to have been the recipients of two Federal Assistance to Fire Fighting Grants, so far. This has allowed us to buy some much needed, but very expensive, equipment to help us serve our community better and increase the safety to our fire fighters.
Our annual call count was approximately 320 per year(2014), but we have been setting new records. We have responded to hundreds of calls, including those that have had multiple weather related problems such as wires down or flooding that get recorded as one call with lots of addresses. We do not respond as EMS first responders.
All of our fire fighters are trained to the standards of the New York State Fire Fighter Level 1 training or Scene Support Training which also includes Hazardous Materials Operations as a minimal amount of training. The majority of our fire fighters have also participated in specialized training as well. These have included: Hazardous Materials Technician, Vehicle Extrication Technician, Fire Police, Incident Command, Safety Officer, Motorsports Emergency Response, and Fire Fighter Assist and Search Team. Since we are only about an hour drive from the New York State Fire Academy in Montour Falls, a number of our members have gone there for advanced training in many of the areas mentioned.
Our apparatus currently consist of two Class A Engines, one Heavy Rescue, one Tanker, one Brush Truck, and one Squad Van. For the sake of consistency and ease of operations, both of our engines are set up with the same equipment and tools, with only minor differences. Both have a five person cab with a single stage 1250 GPM pump with a 1000 gallon booster tank, a pre-piped deck gun, 1200 feet of 4” supply line, and several pre-connected hand lines.
Our Rescue has an eight person cab and is equipped with an on-board PTO hydraulic generator. It also carries the expected equipment for support at a fire, and all of our vehicle extrication tools including hydraulic spreaders, cutters and rams, air bags, and numerous hand tools. We also have a 4-cylinder cascade system and two SCBA tank fill stations on our Rescue. Our Rescue is the truck we use when responding mutual aid with our FAST/RIT team. Waterloo is one of the few departments in Seneca County that has a FAST team. Our normal FAST team response is one driver and 4 FAST trained fire fighters/officers. We also carry enough equipment to handle a moderate sized fuel spill on either land or water, with more equipment stored at our station.
The Tanker has a 2000 gallon flat sided plastic tank with three 10” square quick dumps, one on each side and one on the back. We also carry a 2000 gallon Port-a-Tank on this truck. The Tanker has a 250 GPM PTO pump, which is mainly used to off load at a distance, such as at a brush fire or when using the Port-a-Tank in impractical.
The Brush Truck has a heavy-duty extended cab pick up truck chassis with a skid unit in the rear. The unit has a 200 gallon main tank and an 8 gallon foam tank. We have both 1” hard booster hose on a reel and 1” forestry hose in the side compartments for fighting grass fires. This truck also carries four, 5 gallon hard plastic back pack tanks for use away from the truck.
The Squad Van is a basic 11-person van. We usually have the rear most bench seat out to increase the cargo space, but can put it back should we have need to transport a lot of people. Our van is one of the two trucks owned by the corporation with the other being the Brush Truck, so that the Waterloo Fire Department Ladies' Auxiliary can use the van when they are activated to provide the very welcome and much appreciated support at any incidents.