Jefferson Fire Company has an active Fire Police unit to assist on the scene of fires, accidents, and other incidents. Fire Police, as a specialized unit, are somewhat unique. Special Fire Police units exist in only a few states in the U.S. (CT, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV) and in only a few other countries in the world (i.e. New Zealand and Japan).
Fire Police, in Pennsylvania, first began appearing in the late 1800’s. During the early part of the 20th century, Pennsylvania passed a law making Fire Police sworn officers and providing them with full police powers to conduct the duties for which they are responsible at a fire/accident scene.
Fire Police must take an oath of office, be sworn in by a Judge or Justice of the Peace, and be registered with the Township in which they volunteer. Fire Police in Montgomery County must complete and be certified in Fire Police Operations by Montgomery County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Fire Police on-scene duties include:
- Provide for safe entry and exit of emergency vehicles to/from the scene of an incident
- Protect emergency crews from harm or injury as a result of the public
- Protect emergency vehicles and equipment from theft, vandalism, or sabotage at the scene of an incident
- Control the flow of traffic into or around the scene
- Control crowds at the scene
- Protect the victims and their possessions at the scene
- Assist the Fire Marshal with containing crime scenes
Fire Police have the power to arrest people causing problems at a fire or accident scene. The best course of action you can take when you encounter Fire Police is to slow down (if driving), pay close attention to their gestures, and listen to any instructions they may give. The goal of Fire Police is to protect everyone at an incident scene. Please help them to help us, and you!
Additional volunteers, of course, are always welcome in the Fire Police unit. Stop by or call the station for more information.