16 responses to Amish Firemen in New York
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    Comment on More on accomodation (October 14th, 2014 at 04:33)

    More on accomodation

    Reading about the young firefighter who scooters to the firehouse, and the rule against men with beards going in to certain fire situations, has got me wondering about something. Broadly, do Amish volunteer fire fighters wear standard issue uniforms on site? I mean the large jackets and helmets typical of most volunteer and professional fire departments?
    I suppose this is covered in the statements about accommodating cultural differences at the department, but, don’t certain things have to be worn (I am not being critical of anyone, I’m just kind of curious)

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      Comment on Amish and protective clothing (October 14th, 2014 at 13:00)

      Amish and protective clothing

      They do wear the standard gear Shom, at least from what I have seen on my visits to firehouses in Lancaster and everywhere else I’ve seen information about Amish in fire companies. It’s an interesting question though as there have been disputes in the past over hard hat requirements on jobsites, and OSHA granted the Amish and Sikh adherents an exemption from wearing them in the 1970s, later expanded to all religious groups.


      Since participation in fire companies is more elective than necessary to one’s livelihood, I doubt there would be the same objection against this type of protective gear. Amish who choose to join fire companies know what they are getting into; also those who join are not the most conservative of all Amish either.

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    Comment on Amish Firemen in New York (October 14th, 2014 at 06:58)

    What is odd in the local paper is that it sounds like Ovid is the only place that has Amish firemen, but they aren’t. There are other towns that have Amish firemen, in New York State, too.

    Yes the Amish wear standard issue uniforms just like any other fire person would wear. They wear the same jackets, and helmets that Englisher fire fighters wear, too. Also, the Amish go through the same training that the Englishers do. The only thing is they will not let a firefighter – Amish or Englisher – with a beard go into a burning building. It has something to do with the equipment might not cover their face as well as someone who does not have beard.

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      Comment on Amish Fire Volunteers (October 14th, 2014 at 13:10)

      Amish Fire Volunteers

      Interesting to hear about other places in NY that have Amish participation Marilyn. Since there are a number of Lancaster-origin communities in the state I’m not surprised to hear that. But as Mark and Dorothy mention below it’s not only Lancaster-roots Amish who volunteer on fire departments. Thanks for letting us know.

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    Dorothy Hostetler
    Comment on Amish firefighters in Indiana (October 14th, 2014 at 07:30)

    Amish firefighters in Indiana

    Shipshewana and Topeka Indiana also have Amish firefighters on their departments. They have auction fundraisers managed by the Amish community, although the auctions occur only once every 4 – 5 years. The Shipshewana auctions raise in excess of $150k per auction.

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      Tom Geist
      Comment on Amish Firemen in New York (October 14th, 2014 at 08:24)

      Dorthy… do you mean the total amount made at the auction is $150K….and that the firemen get a cut of that? In order for the firement to get a full $150K all of the items would have to have been donated… and that’s a lot of donations.

      Just wondering…

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        Dorothy Hostetler
        Comment on Amish Firemen in New York (October 14th, 2014 at 11:40)

        The last auction the net proceedo to the department were $187k. All items were donated.

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          Tom Geist
          Comment on Amish Firemen in New York (October 14th, 2014 at 12:58)

          That was sure nice of everyone. Of course, they all benefit from it, but still.

          Thanks for the info Dorothy… would never have guessed that.

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      Mark – Holmes Co.
      Comment on Amish Firemen in New York (October 14th, 2014 at 09:55)

      It’s quite common here in Holmes County also.

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        Comment on Amish Emergency Medical Technicians (October 14th, 2014 at 13:05)

        Amish Emergency Medical Technicians

        Interesting to hear about Amish fire company participation in Ohio and other states. I think most people associate it with the Lancaster community where I believe it is most prominent and has the deepest tradition; we also know of it there since the mud sales are pretty well-known.

        Interestingly, Amish in Lancaster also serve as EMTs on ambulance crews (this info is in the book The Amish p. 362). I’d guess you are aware of this as well Mark, I knew an Amishman in your community who did the same thing in Holmes County.

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          Mark – Holmes Co.
          Comment on Amish Firemen in New York (October 14th, 2014 at 13:58)

          Yes, I know of a few EMT’s who are Amish. You make a good point that Amish people involved in such volunteers positions are not from the lowest Amish. I’m not sure where the Dan Gmay stands on that, but I can’t think of any Dan Gmay people that I know are involved with fire departments or EMT in the sense they’d go out with the crews. Again, I might just be unaware of it, as there are not so many of them in our immediate neighborhood. I do know the Swartzentrubers etc. would definitely not.
          There was a tractor wreck near us on #39 Fri. evening and many of the responders were Amish. As we were watching this, a few travelers from out of state were also stuck there watching and they were surprised to see this.

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    Tom Geist
    Comment on Same as in the Army (October 14th, 2014 at 08:20)

    Same as in the Army

    In the Army, and a couple of the other services they are not able to have beards or mustaches that go down too far because of the gas masks they may have to put on. You have to have a good seal for the mask for it to work properly.

    Now the Navy didn’t seem to have to follow this, but I would wonder that how those on board that would have to deal with any potential ship fire would handle it. I suppose they too had to keep clean shaven.

    I have asked at a couple of Amish communities I’ve visited in Iowa and Missouri about them taking part in the fire department. The only thing they do is support the firement in fund raisers… sometimes supplying the food for a pancake feed and or helping serve the food. I’m not sure if there is a restriction on them not to help, maybe just no one has asked them.
    Interesting information.

    Tom in Lincoln

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    City Slicker
    Comment on Amish Volunteers (October 14th, 2014 at 10:15)

    Amish Volunteers

    First, firefighting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Service to the community/company in administrative positions, fundraising, or Fire Police (traffic control) are as important as riding the rigs.
    I would doubt that any Amish would wait for an invitation to join their local fire company. Rather, in typical Amish fashion, I believe that if they see the need they would step up to volunteer.
    One of the Lancaster fire companies has this wording in the “About” section of their Facebook page: “…One of the challenges of the Department is to have drivers on hand to drive the equipment. Since a large part of the community is run by the Amish, often times the first truck will leave the station with 5-6 men on board as asoon as the first driver arrives…”.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on Amish Firemen in New York (October 14th, 2014 at 19:30)

    What a timely topic during Fire Prevention month (and 143 years since the Great Chicago Fire).

    As for the Amish rolling out a hose so quickly, it just speaks of the teamwork that Amish are known for—the entire community pitching in when needed. I’m happy so many Amish districts allow volunteers to help their local fire companies.

    It is a concern about drivers, however. Are there still any horse-driven fire companies? Across the street from where I grew up in Chicago was an old fire company that my Dad (he’d be 102 this year) remembered watching the firemen hitch up a team of horses to pull the “boiler”, or whatever it was called. I was always fascinated to think of how exciting that must have been to a kid! By the time I came around, it was used as a garage for a commercial laundry.

    God bless firefighters everywhere!

    Alice Mary

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    Comment on Firefighter beards (October 18th, 2014 at 11:05)

    Firefighter beards

    (from 2008, Jewish “Washington, D.C., Firefighter Battles to Keep His Beard”)

    (from 2009, “Court: No-beard policy violates religious bias law”)
    The issue surrounds the firefighters’ use of self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs).

    If designed for use under water, it is called SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus).

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    Comment on Firefighter gear requirement (October 20th, 2014 at 20:36)

    Firefighter gear requirement

    Just as NFPA requires that firefighters who wear air packs (SCBA)can not have facial hair (so as to make a good seal on the facepiece) the packs have, they also require the type of gear worn by firefighters. Total weight with A/P is about 70 pounds. As hard a workers as the amish are, it does not surprise me that they make excellent firefighters. The training aspect I find interesting. Here in NJ we require about 96 hours combine training (classroom and field training)for firefighter 1 in the first yesr to become a reqular firefighter. I would be curious to see their training requirements. To attend school here you have to be clean shaved.

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