Today, the Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department conducts fire suppression, rescue, and other emergency response operations at a moment’s notice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Based from a station on Rt. 133 in Pawlet Village, in the southwestern corner of Rutland County, Vermont, we are responsible for a 25 square mile district, encompassing the eastern half of Pawlet. We also provide fire protection and emergency response to surrounding fire districts through a robust system of mutual aid, in which neighboring fire departments call upon one another for assistance.
Like many fire departments in Vermont today, the Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department is organized as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, not a municipal agency. Our department is financed partially by the Town of Pawlet and partially by the general public, by way of donations and fundraising events. Our department is one of nine fire departments in Western Vermont dispatched by the Washington County (NY) Department of Public Safety.
Pawlet’s fire department is an all-volunteer outfit, comprised entirely of individuals who donate their time without monetary compensation.
More Than Just Firefighting
Today’s fire service handles much more than just fire. The Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department is tasked as the primary response agency for fire suppression, rescue, vehicle extrication, hazardous materials incidents, gas leaks, and many other emergency service functions. We assist the Vermont State Police with traffic control following motor vehicle incidents and search operations for lost persons, mitigate hazardous situations such as trees and wires down in roadways, and assist the Granville Rescue Squad at medical emergencies that require additional manpower or the prompt delivery of basic life support services. We work with the Pawlet Office of Emergency Management to mitigate natural disasters such as floods.
The Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department also provides a range of non-emergency services to our community.
Pawlet’s firefighters may be unpaid, but are professionals nonetheless, and hold themselves to nationally-recognized standards for fire service training. Most firefighters on our department have put in several hundred hours of fire service training and many of our members have earned firefighter professional certifications. This accredited training is delivered through the Vermont Fire Academy. We conduct over 30 training sessions per year right here in Pawlet, including mutual aid drills, classroom training sessions, live-fire exercises, and hosted Vermont Fire Academy programs.
Apparatus & Equipment
The core of our emergency response equipment is our fire trucks, or “apparatus” in the parlance of the fire service. Pawlet currently operates two combination pumper/tankers and a “brush” truck, each fully equipped with all manner of equipment, from hoses and axes that would be familiar to a firefighter of yesteryear to advanced modern electronics such as thermal imaging cameras, multi-gas detectors, and defibrillators. Each apparatus is maintained with pride to provide optimal readiness for emergencies in our community.
Engine/Tanker Apparatus 542 is our first-due engine. Custom-built for Pawlet by E-One on a Freightliner chassis, 542’s features include a 1,250 gallon-per-minute pump, a 1,000 gallon tank with quick dump, a deck gun, Class A foam injection, a portable pump, three types of power saws, generators, medical equipment including an AED and oxygen, and a wide array of tools and equipment for rescue, fire suppression, and extrication.
ETA 542 carries three types of hose: two diameters of “attack” or firefighting hose, plus over a quarter-mile of 4″ large diameter water supply hose loaded into an elevated bed at the rear of the truck. This allows the hose to be deployed or “laid” behind the truck as it drives into a fire scene or a fill site. It also carries two ground ladders, a 20′ folding roof ladder, and an attic ladder.
Pawlet’s second pumping apparatus is constructed on an International chassis. It is equipped in much the same manner as ETA 542, and provides us with the ability to respond to much larger emergencies than a single apparatus could handle. Like 542, this combination pumper/tanker uses its powerful diesel engine to handle water at rates of up to 1,250 GPM once parked at the scene of a fire, and is also capable of serving as a tanker. It carries 1,250 gallons of water, a 1,500 gallon portable tank, and has a rear-mounted quick-dump.
544 is a Type 6 wildland apparatus custom-built on a 2004 Ford F450 4×4 chassis. It is equipped with a 340 gallon water tank and a high-pressure pump with “pump and roll” capabilities and Class A foam injection. Along with wildland gear, 544 also carries a winch and equipment for general-purpose firefighting, rescue, and traffic control.