My Retirement Plans

Well lets first start out with a little (if not realistic humor):

Don't wait for retirement to be happy and really start living. Invariably, people who try this find out that they have waited much too long.

Retirement . . . is when you stop living at work and begin working at living.

Retirement means doing whatever I want to do. It means choice.— Dianne Nahirny

I'm retired — goodbye tension, hello pension!

Preparation for old age should begin not later than one's teens. A life which is empty of purpose until 65 will not suddenly become filled on retirement.— Arthur E. Morgan

Don't simply retire from something; have something to retire to.— Harry Emerson Fosdick

Retirement: When you quit working just before your heart does.

I’m retired. You on the other hand have to go to work.


Now to get serious! 


I'm trying to get a few things settled for that event (and no I'm not going to stop working all together, but I am looking at The Shenandoah Valley, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont), and I will not be doing nursing.

Actually I do have a few things I want to do...I plan to place 2 bat houses on the house I buy, I will be involved in a local audubon chapter (with a focus on raptors), I'm really going to get involved in nature photography.

I will be starring at the night sky with a Celestron Sky Prodigy 130 telescope, and still remain involved in a number of community organizations. (like that will ever change)


And the biggy is of course is  I will be an active member of the local volunteer fire department/rescue department. I did this 30 years ago and was bitten by that bug. Once you get bitten by the bug it never leaves you, no matter how old you get. Here is the newspaper article of my exploits. (almost 30 years ago)


What are volunteer Fire Fighters/Emergency Medical Personel?

A volunteer fire department (VFD) is a fire department composed of volunteers who perform fire suppression and other related emergency services for a local jurisdiction.

The term "volunteer" contrasts with career firefighters who are full-time/professional firefighters, working organized shifts, usually based in a centrally located firehouse.

The term "volunteer" is  used in reference to a group of part-time or on-call firefighters who may have other occupations when not engaged in occasional firefighting. Although they may have "volunteered" to become members, and to respond to the call for help, they are not compensated as employees during the time they are responding to or attending an emergency scene, and possibly even for training drills.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 71 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers. The National Volunteer Fire Council represents the fire and emergency services on a national level, providing advocacy, information, resources, and programs to support volunteer first responders. The Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY) provides information, education and training for the volunteer fire and emergency medical services throughout New York State.

A VFD may be financially supported by taxes raised in a city, town, county, fire district, or other governmental entity, as well as corporate and other private donations, federal grants, and other assistance from auxiliary members, or firefighters' associations. With these funds the VFD acquires and operates the firefighting apparatus, equips and trains the firefighters, maintains the firehouse, and possibly also covers insurance, worker's compensation, and other post-injury or retirement benefits. A VFD (or its governing entity) may also contract with other nearby departments to cover each other in a mutual aid (or automatic aid) pact as a means for assisting each other with equipment and manpower, when necessary.

 Expanded duties

Depending upon the location and availability of other services, a VFD may be responsible for controlling structure fires as well as forest fires. Because it may be the only emergency services department for some distance, a rural VFD may also be fortunate to include first responders, emergency medical technicians, Hazardous Materials response, and other specially qualified rescue personnel. Law enforcement officers may also be trained in these related duties and overlap with the VFD. The VFD may also have duties as the local fire inspectors, arson investigators, and as fire safety and prevention education, in addition to being the local civil defense or disaster relief liaison.

Emergency response

A Volunteer Fire Department is normally reached the same way as other emergency services, such as by calling 9-1-1 or 1-1-2. A central dispatcher then calls out the VFD, often through equipment such as pagers, radios, or loud signals, such as a fire siren. Average response times may be slightly longer or not,  than with full-time services because the members must come from different distances to the station or to the incident. However, there is a possibility that more firefighters may arrive at an incident with a volunteer department, as compared to paid departments. Some states allow the use of Length of Service Award Programs (LOSAPS) to provide these volunteer departments with a tool to assist in recruiting and retaining members.

Some volunteer fire departments allow the use of Courtesy lights or emergency lights and sirens by its members. In most states that allow both lights and sirens, this is a red light and siren that gives the responding member the same privileges as other emergency vehicles. In other jurisdictions, this may be a green or blue light without a siren (Courtesy lights), that only requests the right of way, and does not give the responding member any privileges to break traditional traffic laws. The use of such equipment varies from fire district to fire district based on need for fast response, distance that members live from the fire station, the size and amount of other traffic in the fire district as well as local and state law. Some departments restrict or prohibit use of such emergency lights, even when allowed by state law, due to the increased risk of traffic accidents involving volunteers responding in emergency mode. In some states, volunteer firefighters and EMTs are eligible to receive specialty license plates for personal vehicles that identify them as trained emergency services personnel.






All operational volunteer fire department members receive some form of training, either in a formal or informal setting; This depends on the state and regulatory authority. The level and type of basic and specialty training varies across the country. Many volunteer fire departments have training programs equal to that of paid departments. New members are referred to as "recruits," "rookies," "probies" (short for "probationary"), or even "red hats" in some departments that require the recruit to wear special gear or markings (such as a red helmet in some departments) to denote their ranking. Some departments allow (or even require) new recruits to ride along on fire apparatus as observers before undergoing the rigors of further fire training.

Specialty training can include wildland firefighting, technical rescue, swift water rescue, hazardous materials response, vehicle extrication, FAST team, and others.


A few things about Firefighting Services in the Northeast  / EMS services in the Northeast. My Dad has been a Volunteer Firefighter or Fire Police Officer for over 50 years, and he is still going strong at 72.


What is Fire Police?

Fire Police are Volunteer Fire Brigade/Company members who have sworn police powers. They receive special police training and are responsible for traffic control, crowd control, fire and incident scene security, apparatus security, and station security during calls for service.

They also assist regular police when needed, performing road closures, traffic control, crowd control at public events, missing persons searches, parade details, salvage, security, and other tasks as requested. The primary role of the Fire Police is to provide support for operational requirements at moderate to major incidents


Fire Police are a Fire Brigade resource and answer to the Officer In Charge (OIC) of the Fire Brigade in attendance. Fire Police in Pennsylvania (USA) are under the direction of the state or local police. Where no other Fire Brigade resources are present, they will usually be assisting Police and therefore be taking direction from the Police OIC. They may also act autonomously depending on local regulations.

While the exact role of Fire Police may vary between brigades and between countries, the general themes are the same:

Traffic Control at Emergency Scenes

Managing the flow of vehicles around or through the immediate vicinity of an emergency. This may entail road closures, diversions, full 'points' control of intersections or '1-way-shunts' where the road is reduced to one lane and the direction is alternated in a controlled fashion.

Scene Safety

Fire Police are utilized to assist in ensuring that the scene of an incident is safe for those working in the vicinity; this includes both Firefighters and other Emergency Service workers, as well as members of the public.

Crowd Control and Liaison

Residents, owners, occupants, relatives, transients, spectators, and the media are among those who may approach the scene of an incident. Fire Police are in a position to prevent them from coming into harm, and from hampering the work of emergency services personnel at the scene. They are often the first point of contact and as such must have good public relations skills.

Scene Security

Fire Police may be asked to provide a scene guard in order to prevent looting or theft. Also, they may be called upon to monitor unattended Fire Brigade equipment.

Police Assistance

Fire Police are often called upon by Police and other Law Enforcement agencies to provide manpower. Many of the above tasks also fall within the area of responsibility of the Police, but Fire Police when on the scene may allow the Police to concentrate on other more specific areas of expertise.


Fire Police may provide a Logistics resource - vehicle movements, communications or similar. This would particularly be the case at a scene controlled by the Fire Brigade but they may be called upon by other services.

New York

Fire Police in New York State are Peace Officers with full police powers when acting pursuitant to their special duties.

These are granted under Section 209 (c) of the General Municipal Law. As New York State Peace Officers they are required to take an oath, a copy of which must be kept on file in the town clerk's office in the municipality in which they serve. As mandated by Executive Law, Section 845 (Chapter 482, Laws of 1979 and Chapter 843 Laws of 1980) they are also listed with the Central Registry of Police and Peace Officers at the New York State, Division of Criminal Justice Services-Office of Public Safety in Albany, NY.

To regulate traffic at emergency scenes. This shall include traffic at the scene of any emergency to which your department has been called, until relieved by your chief, or the regular police agency upon arrival. To protect firefighters while fighting fires. Remember that we are all firefighters first, and secondly fire police. Our main objective is to provide the adequate protection for the firefighters so that they may do their job without interference of others.

To protect the general public at the scene of a fire. Residents, owners, occupants, relatives, transients, spectators, and even the news media tend to hamper the operations. Tact and courtesy must be deployed to keep them safe and away from harm or obstructing fire operations.

To keep fire areas clear for fire fighting purpose. Apparatus, emergency vehicles, service vehicles, firefighters' vehicles all need room to park, operate within, turn around, tanker operations and even hose line lays for fire-fighting operations, etc. always keep this space available and clear.

To protect the equipment of a fire company. Keep all non-firefighters away from and especially off from department vehicles, and away from its equipment. Don't allow anyone to damage any equipment, and prevent looting.

To enforce the laws of New York State relating to firematic activities and firefighting techniques. The reckless disregard for safe driving within an emergency area, driving over fire hoses, spectators disrespect for fire lines, non-emergency vehicles intrusions, these are only some of the laws we must be firm in controlling at the scene with respectability.

To cooperate with all regular police agencies. We are all there for the same cause and reasons, to provide protection, safety and to prevent a situation from getting out of hand, therefore we must cooperate with each others basis of operations by working together efficiently.

To protect the property at the scene of a fire until the Chief releases the fire police from duty and turns the responsibility over to other police agencies or to the owner. Allow no one to enter within the scene without proper identification or credentials. Be alert, we may see or hear something from a person that may have a direct bearing upon the situation, protect the scene's evidence, and report unusual events or happenings.

To carry out the orders of the Chief who is in supreme command at all fires and emergencies.

Fire Police in New York State have full arrest authority.



Fire Police in Pennsylvania are Volunteer Fire Company members, sworn in by the Mayor or Borough Council President, Township supervisor or the local District Justice of the Peace. They come under direct control of the Local Police or State Police (if no local dept is available). The first Fire Police officers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were appointed in Meadville, Crawford County in 1896. These first Fire Police officers had no authority other than that which could be provided by their fire company and the municipality in which they served. No legal recognition or authority was granted to Special Fire Police officers in the Commonwealth of Pa until 1941.

The Commonwealth of PA in June 1941 passed a law (Title 35) enabling Special Fire Police Officers to have the necessary police power to provide protection. Fire Police were legally created to act in emergency situations and then only when their fire department was involved.

Title 35 was amended in 1949, 1959 and again in 1980. (Act 74, 388, 209, 122) These changes widened the scope of authority of the Fire Police. In 1949 the law was amended (Act 388) to give Fire Police power to act without fire company involvement, providing a request to do so was made by the municipality. In 1959 (Act 209) the law was again amended to allow Fire Police to use their police powers in any (non-emergency) public function conducted by or under the auspices of any volunteer fire company. Such services were contingent upon a request by the municipality. The provision for municipal request for such services, when the fire company was involved, was later removed from the law.

The provision to allow Fire Police to use their police power in non-emergency events was later amended to authorize these officers to provide police services for organizations other than a volunteer fire company. For Fire Police to perform this type of duty a request was and is, required. In 1980 (Act 122 - current law), the Fire Police Act was amended to, among other things, make it clear that the act does not grant the right or power to use firearms or other weapons in the course of an officer's duty.

These amendments widened the scope of authority of Fire Police in Pennsylvania to have limited police powers. Although they have no authority to make arrests, they do have the right to detain someone, within reason.

Fire Police may control the flow of traffic to ensure emergency vehicles have a quick, safe entrance and egress to an incident. They may halt traffic or detour traffic because of the situation and the dangers involved. They take orders from the police authority in charge.

All Fire Police Officers are sworn officers of the law and when on duty shall display a badge of authority and shall be subject to control of the chief of police of the city, borough, town or township in which they are serving, or if none, of a member of the Pennsylvania State Police. Disobeying a Fire Police Officer is the same as disobeying a Police Officer, Sheriff's Deputy, State Constable or State Trooper and assaulting one is a felony.

Current Pennsylvania Fire-Police law is found in Title 35, Chapter 74, subchapters 7431 to 7437.