23 Rescue 1
Two Generations of Service in Our Community
MISSION AND ORIGIN. The NewBrook Fire & Rescue Department has been the fire protection provider for Newfane and Brookline since 1948 and a principal emergency medical service (EMS) provider to the same district since 1984. The combined Newfane-Brookline fire district was established in 1948, with no firehouse and no firetrucks, but with a dozen or so dedicated and highly able volunteers and a quantity of used fire hose. The first NewBrook firehouse was built in 1950 on Route 30 a half-mile south of the Newfane village center. At around that same time, the department bought a 1942 US Army surplus 4WD truck, which it converted to a 500-gallon pumper. That original NewBrook firetruck is used today as our Brush Truck. Still in service, it is considerably older than all but a couple of our current members. Today, NewBrook has eleven main pieces of apparatus, including the ’42 Brush Truck: two pumpers, a rescue truck, a utility or squad truck, an ATV, a rescue sled and trailer for off-road work,a 2016 Feightliner 3000 gallon tanker, a used 1953 International 1500 gallon 4WD Forestry tanker, and a 1931 Model A Ford pumper for parades.
GROWTH, APPARATUS, AND MEMBERSHIP. At 20 years of service, in 1968, NewBrook’s membership had increased to around 100. By the eighties, the department had outgrown its quarters, and the present firehouse, a half-mile north of the village on Route 30, was built in 1993. Current membership amounts to about 60 active volunteers, including 20 firefighters, 8 certified EMS responders, and about 25 Support Staff—volunteers who take on various duties related to administration, facility and equipment repair and maintenance of apparatus, food prep, and other tasks. All personnel are volunteers. NewBrook has no paid staff of any kind.
THE NEWBROOK LADIES' AUXILIARY, with about 45 members, is an integral part of the organization, providing essential fundraising and other support for the department, such as organizing food at fire and other emergency scenes.
OUR SERVICES. In an average year NewBrook responds to about 240 calls, including structure fires, vehicle fires, EMS calls, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, cellar pumping, public assistance calls (for example, to help disabled people), distressed animals, securing scenes of dangerous fallen power lines, and other emergencies. The NewBrook firehouse, which is equipped with a generator, a full kitchen, and other facilities, can be (and has been) used as a public emergency shelter in time of need. In 2014 NewBrook was designated a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) by FEMA.
In every case, NewBrook’s services are provided free of all charge. We don’t get paid, and we don’t send bills.
TRAINED PERSONNEL. NewBrook’s firefighters undergo a variety of in-house training as well as more formal training in firefighting, hazardous-material handling, use of air-pack breathing equipment, victim extrication from vehicles, putting out chimney fires, arson investigation, and more. NewBrook’s rescue workers include state-certified first responders, EMT-Basic and -Advanced trained volunteers.
FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT. Although our mission is fire protection and EMS service in Newfane and Brookline, our department is not part of the towns’ governments. Rather, we are incorporated as the NewBrook Volunteer Fire Association, a nonprofit organization in the State of Vermont. We own our firehouse and our apparatus lock, stock, and barrel. We get some taxpayer support from the towns we serve, voted as contributions each year at Town Meeting, but most of our operating funds come from the remarkable level of donations we receive from the people of our community through our annual appeal, and from indirect support through fundraising activities carried out by our members.
BENEFIT EVENTS. Currently, the main fundraising events and activities that benefit NewBrook, most of them mounted and participated in by NewBrook and NewBrook Auxiliary members, are our regular Saturday night Bingo games; the Fourth of July Open House and Barbecue at the firehouse; the NewBrook Horse Show in Brookline (July); Newfane’s Heritage Festival and Coin Drop at Columbus Day; the Hunters’ Breakfast and Hunters’ Raffle, both in November; and the annual Silent Auction (December).
VOLUNTEERS WELCOME. While other rural fire departments in recent years have often found it hard to attract new volunteers, NewBrook has been lucky in this respect. We have been taking in two or three new members a year pretty steadily. Nevertheless, we are always looking for recruits. You need not be a firefighter or EMS responder to make a contribution, as we are also glad of help in running our Bingo games and other fundraising, in equipment maintenance, support staff work, and other necessary tasks for the department.