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Officials: Full-time Warminster firefighters turning out all right


At a recent Warminster supervisors meeting, Joe Velten, director of emergency management/services, briefed members and the public on October’s addition of three full-time firefighters.

With six months under their belts, the full-time firefighters have made quite a difference, according to Velten. In particular, they have reportedly decreased department average turnout time from 4 minutes and 47 seconds (287 seconds) to 3 minutes and 33 seconds (213 seconds).

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1710 has set 80 seconds as the standard for effective turnout.

Turnout time is the time from which a dispatcher alerts a fire unit of an emergency to when the unit leaves the fire station, according to As such, it is an “integral component of emergency response time,” they say.

By comparison, Warrington’s turnout time is 60 seconds, according to Lee Greenberg, that township’s director of emergency services and interim manager.

Warminster’s firefighters spent a “significant amount of time” since they were hired learning about the apparatus, equipment, hazards, procedures and culture within the township before they even went to any live fires. Velten said he wanted to be sure that they were “well trained and certified” before they went into the field.

They now work with dwelling fires, car crashes, gas leaks, cardiac arrests and other emergencies, Velten told the board.

The firefighters are also certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) so they can assist with cardiac emergencies on scene. They also respond to out-of-town hazmat incidents in areas such as Hatboro and Upper Moreland, both in Montgomery County.

Other work responsibilities include offering fire prevention education in schools, fire inspections and fire safety training for business owners.

The team this year has conducted 350 fire inspections as of last month and found more than 400 violations, Velten said.

“We are not making money doing inspections; we just want to help people,” he said.

The full-time firefighters and the volunteer firefighters have been training together and doing live exercises at night. Velten’s goal is to have “one unified force” in order to better serve the community. He hopes to add two more full-time firefighters; reduce turnout time and get water on the fire; create a safe environment for his crews; offer more integrated training with the volunteers; and be ready for more “technical” rescues.

Chair Kathy Frescatore and Vice Chair Ken Hayes both complimented Velten and the crews on the work they have done.

Hayes said that “while it was the SAFE grant that provided the resources, it was (you) and your team who made this happen.”

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