The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

Hometown High School Heroes

KHS seniors Joseph Cappa and Anthony Dowd talk about their experiences working as junior firefighters for the Kinnelon Volunteer Fire Company
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The Kinnelon Vol. Fire Company 2 firehouse on Boonton Avenue. They hold equipment and fire trucks to quickly attend to any situation.

The afternoon sun slanted through the slots of the garage door onto the fire engine. It was painted in a glossy red finish with the word “KINNELON” printed on the front. It sat in the garage of the Company 1 firehouse of the Kinnelon Volunteer Fire Company on Kiel Avenue; one of three across town.

The company is entirely volunteer-based and always ready to accept new members of all abilities. Not only do they keep the town safe during emergencies and fires, but they also hold fundraisers and frequent town events like hosting pancake breakfasts, car washes, or driving down the Kinnelon streets with Santa.

The Kinnelon Vol. Fire Company 1 firehouse on Kiel Avenue. Here they hold equipment and trucks and often host fundraisers and town-wide events.

Any resident over the age of 16 can join as a junior firefighter. As part of the program, teenagers can learn about “local fire, rescue, and emergency medical services response organizations,” according to the National Volunteer Fire Council. These skills help to gain an appreciation for the community, learn life skills in a fun and hands-on way, or gain experience for future career prospects like public safety or emergency medicine.

Many upperclassmen at KHS including seniors Joseph Cappa and Anthony Dowd are part of the program. Cappa – now a probationary firefighter once he turned 18 – explains some of the work he does,” Every Monday we do drills; we run fundraisers and other stuff like that for the fire department. But for the most part, it’s about… responding to different dispatch calls. So it could be

Infographic describing information about the Kinnelon Vol. Fire Company and their junior firefighter program. (Aarushi Kumar)

anything from an actual fire to a gas leak, to carbon monoxide, to a car accident.”

Oftentimes, the company has to attend to other types of emergencies or assist in other towns. Dowd explains, “We get roughly three to four calls a week on average, I’ve found. Recently we’ve been getting less than normal. Some weeks we may have zero calls, other weeks, we can get multiple per day. Most calls are false alarms or automatic alarms that we respond to. Every once in a while we’ll have a fire that we respond to as mutual aid outside of the city. This morning we got called out to a working structure fire in Butler to help them out.”

Besides training and classes, there are no required shifts for any of the volunteer firefighters. Dowd says, “We don’t do shifts. Most volunteer fire departments only work when the pager tones go off. We drive to the station and hop on the trucks.”

Alongside his volunteers in Kinnelon, Dowd also works as an EMT for the Morris Minute Men in Morris Township & Morris Plains. He plans to become a firefighter or paramedic after college, so he takes EMT classes on Mondays and Tuesdays and volunteers at the fire company to gain experience. While he can’t participate in Monday’s training days, he accompanies the firefighters on dispatch calls whenever possible.

A Kinnelon fire truck inside the Company 1 firehouse. (Anthony Dowd)

On the other hand, Cappa describes the schedule for training days during the month, “So the first Monday of the month is at the Company 1 firehouse and they do a whole corporation meeting and they discuss different things going on. The next Monday is a drill with your company and it is anything from pulling hoses, simulating putting out a fire, and what you would do when you arrive on a scene,

and different procedures. On the third Monday, there would be a company drill so all three companies would come together and simulate fighting a fire… And then [next] Monday is a rescue drill, so it’s a whole search and rescue procedure for that.”

All residents are welcome to contribute to the community and join the company. Dowd says the most enjoyable part of volunteering is “being able to help out the community and try to make peoples’ days better. Either that or meeting new people that motivate me to become a better person.”


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