“It is the mission of the Indiana Fire Association is to protect the lives and property of the residents of the Indiana Borough, White Township and surrounding Communities by providing the highest quality fire suppression and rescue services. We will continue to seek new opportunities to serve our neighbors and to strive for excellence in the services we provide, through continued education and training.”
Indiana Fire Association added 3 new photos.
2 days ago
As the Chief of the Indiana Fire Association, I feel it is my responsibility to not only publicly thank our tireless volunteers for their efforts, but to also address the questions concerning our response to recent storms.
The Indiana Fire Association and her mutual aid partners responded to nearly two hundred (200) calls for service on the evening hours of June 22nd and early morning hours of June 23rd in Indiana Borough, White Township, Armstrong Township and Center Township.
The normal call volume for our volunteers averages just over one call per day or about 425 calls per year. To deal with nearly two-hundred (200) calls is on the verge of overwhelming.
The calls varied, while each call was an emergency to the caller, they understandably had to be prioritized. The fast moving storm immediately caused numerous water related emergencies which taxed our resources.
While the Association prides itself on it’s emergency preparedness, the shear number of calls for service quickly resulted in a backlog. Countless callers were added to a list requesting assistance with flooding in single family homes.
While these requests are important, they shouldn’t overshadow the emergency responses which included a swift water rescue assist, vehicle accidents, a submerged vehicle, several wires down, countless flooded and impassable roadways sending our crews and apparatus throughout our service area.
Many callers plead for assistance, only to be told that they’d have to wait. I speak for the entire command staff when I say that this organization prides itself on its core values of helping others. Having to make a list and wait for resources to become available can be an emotional roller-coaster.
We are not particularly well suited to combat flooding or its aftermath. No sand bags, no vacuums, no squeegees. The Association maintains a small number of portable pumps and several fire engines equipped to draft or suck water. Please understand that these pumps were purchased to fight fire and we adapt them to pump basements.
These small gasoline powered pumps are capable of pumping about five-hundred (500) gallons of water a minute. They are often maneuvered by two firefighters, by hand and weigh more than one-hundred (100) pounds without the needed ancillary equipment to draft water.
Several lengths of hard suction tubing, a barrel strainer and several hundred feet of discharge hose round out the list of required equipment. Once we determine a site is suitable for pumping, you have to assemble the pieces and submerge the barrel strainer, start the motor, pull a draft and discharge the water. Pumping always occurs below grade, often in the dark, in cramped quarters filled with personal possessions.
The barrel strainer looks just like it sounds, I’ll include a picture, so that everyone has a better understanding of it. Once in the water, the strainer often lies on the bottom of the pump site. If your pumping a house, that would be the basement floor.
Once you begin to draft with the portable pump, several key factors immediately come to mind. Where is the water going? Don’t fill the neighbors basement with water. Get it away from the houses. Where is the exhaust from the pump going? The pump runs on gasoline and thus has an exhaust. Don’t suck the water out and then fill the house with carbon monoxide (CO). How come I still have four to six inches of water in the basement and you're leaving? The barrel strainer and contour of the floor. The portable pump strainer is round and about four inches tall. Once it sucks air, it loses it’s draft or sucking power and pumping ends. Some people have sump basins or sloping floors or low spots that let’s us get a little more water out. Most times we get it down from feet to inches and the homeowner’s sump pump takes over.
Sometimes one portable pump won’t be enough. You may need two pumps or sometimes an Engine. If you need an Engine, like E104, to pump you out, you have some serious water problems! E104 uses a six (6) inch hard suction and barrel strainer. E104 is capable of drafting over a thousand (1000) gallons of water a minute and sending it on it’s way!!
But with that you have a whole separate series of problems. The Engine is heavy and with saturated ground it can't just drive into your yard. Careful planning must take place and how do you discharge a thousand (1000) gallons a minute? Often times you must throw it with the deck gun. Not always simply without damaging or breaking something.
So we talked about a list. Unfortunately it’s not normally first come first serve. It’s generally by how much water do you have. Sometimes the basement is full and the first floor is flooding. That’s bad. Almost always we ask if the water has stopped coming in. Very important question and one we don’t normally like asking. It’s demoralizing to pump for two hours, leave and have to come back six hours later to do it again. Generally speaking, we don’t pump until the rain has stopped coming down. This is not normally well accepted by the public, but it we can’t be everywhere. A professionally installed sump pump, placed in a basement prior to bad weather, can be a lifesaver to many homeowners. Bottom line is, I only have so many volunteers and many worked an eight (8) day before the storms ever started. They are dedicated to their community.
Speaking of volunteers, we have a generally accepted concept called “Mutual Aid”. Basically means if Clymer or Homer City or Creekside isn’t having a rainy day, that those volunteers can come to town and enjoy our rainy day. Our mutual aid partners are superstars!! Saying thanks isn't enough! We would still be pumping without them.
Mutual aid on Thursday evening including the Blairsville Volunteer Fire Department, Blackilck Volunteer Fire Department, Clymer Volunteer Fire Department, Coral-Graceton Volunteer Fire Department, Homer City Volunteer Fire Department, Marion Center Volunteer Fire Company, Creekside Volunteer Fire Company, Iselin-West Lebanon Volunteer Fire Company, Plumville Volunteer Fire Company and offers from the Punxsutawney Volunteer Fire Company, the Derry Volunteer Fire Company and the Lloydsville Volunteer Fire Company.
Leading the actual field operations was none other than Second Assistant Fire Chief (SAFC) Michael Empfield. Mike is a great Chief, being the former Captain of Company Two and the Rescue Squad Captain. Mike knows chaos. Mike deployed his assets and keep the chaos to a minimum.
Backing SAFC Empfield was a staff of members answering phones, communicating with 911 and making sense of it all at the Central Station. No easy task when handling nearly two hundred (200) calls over an eight (8) hour time frame.
The office staff was made up of Third Assistant Fire Chief (TAFC) Ron Moreau, Captain One Megan Schuller, Firefighter/Engineer Charles Kelly and Firefighter Cameron Nellis. Patient folks when answering phone calls from frantic home owners.
Let’s not leave out 911 and or the Indiana County Emergency Management Agency(ICEMA). 911 took a majority of the calls for help, documented them and got them to us. Some came via fax, some via phone call, some over the radio and some they drove to us. Printed them out and drove them to the Central Station. Outstanding service!
ICEMA started getting resources for us including extra pumps. The more pumps you have the more crews can divide and conquer a very large list. Thanks to them for the help.
I’d like to thank to Kris Bruns of Subs-N-Suds for helping to feed an army of volunteers throughout the night with hot pizza. It was a giant morale booster to people who are cold and wet.
I’d like to thank the folks who continue to drop off cookies, snacks and water in appreciation for the crews who worked tirelessly throughout the night. Thank you!
If being cold, wet and tired at the end of a twenty (20) hour day sounds like your cup of tea we are always accepting applications for volunteers at www.indianafire.com.
I hope I answered some of your questions and educated some of you on our operations. As always, please feel free to stop and see us at 501 Philadelphia Street and 1555 Indian Springs Road.
Fire Chief ... See MoreSee Less
Scott your crews did a great job this week! Indiana is appreciative!
Great jobs guys! Love ya all! ❤️
You guys are awesome
Thank you for such an insightful perspective. It was humbling and I was not even involved. However, two of my favorite people are volunteer firefighters with Indiana and I can't even pretend to know what an impact that has on their lives as we only catch glimpses. But, I can thank you all just the same and will be sure to thank my local fire firefighters in Pittsburgh as well!
As an Assistant Chief of a mutual aid dept and township supervisor, times like these you need to have a good command and morale is key. To say I was truly impressed with the command structure and how organizes the Indiana Fire Association was during the whole emergency is an understatement. To see the amount of firefighters from throughout the county come together is what it is all About! To Scott Schuller and all of the members at IFA keep up the great work!
I thank all of the men and women who gave their time and energy to help those in need who were not prepared to deal with the flood waters on their own. I would like to see the next post from you telling of the hundreds of donations pouring in from these people that you went out to help! I feel it is wrong on so many levels that you are NOT paid when there is money to be wasted on so many frivolous things in the borough of Indiana every year. I for one think that this needs to change everywhere!
Scott Schuller - very good post on dealing with a natural disaster in a confined area. One thing to add to the list of dangers would be the danger of the foundation collasping if the water is removed from the basement due to the water pressure from the soil outside. Also, you could provide tips to your residents that they could do prior to a major rain event such as shutting of the main power breaker, turn off the gas to appliances, having their Insurance information readily available to access. Good job by all.
get some chief...folks have no concept of what it takes...to run calls. to be busy like stand up 24 hours. or 36 or 48. my best was the worst 120 of my career. monsoons floods. homes afloat. noah stuff. stand your ground. maybe get some paid crews 24/7/365. folks kavetch? folks pay. want service? it is called FD insurance (taxes) and if folk$ want it...pay up and it will be there. 4 houses can not cover indiana county...good luck
For all of you out there risking your lives.....Thank You!!! I listened to all the havoc that went on when the rains came down and the flooding started and I was amazed at how all of you kept your heads and continued to work at keeping people safe out there. Thank You...you all are our Super Heros!!!!
Awesome job to all involved! And if any families need assistance with their animals from flooding please either call in Indiana County Animal Response Team and you can call in surrounding CART's to assist.
Time for a paid full time fire department especially given the flash flooding in western PA in small towns that seems to be happening frequently these days
As a frequent visitor to Indiana I must express my deepest appreciation !! I was in that deluge but I only know one way - 422. The thoughts of being without gps & cell service on back roads has always kept me from exploring. I was more than thrilled when I saw your men at the end of long, winding, scary road !! Thank you all for a great job! And how refreshing to see you giving them public acknowledgment!!!!
What a great posting. I am proud of each and every one of our VOLUNTEERS..who care for our safety.THANK YOU hardly covers it👍
If you have a water problem call a plumber. The fire department exists for actual emergencies.... not because youre too cheap to buy a backup sump pump
Thank all of you who do what you do. It is proven that it does take special people and their families who I am sure also missed them during all of this time.
Nice to see a chief take the time to give respect to others ...well said chief Scott Schuller
I have heard nothing but positive comments about the work you folks did during the storm. You are appreciated by so many.
God bless u all, I don't live in the areas of the damage but have seen all the pictures and all and prayed u all were safe
Thanks to all the firefighters for their hard work these last few days.
Thank you to all the emergency volunteers!!! Your service is o very much appreciated.
Thank you all for everything you do!! Thank you to your families for sharing you with those in need of your services!! 💕👩🏻🚒👨🏻🚒
All of this... and they don't get paid for it!!! Thank you for your service!
Great job! Ppl really don't know until they walk a mile in your shoes! God Bless you all ^j^
Well said! IFA is amazing, thank you for everything you do for our communities.
Thanks to all the crews that were out helping the community. You all rock!!
A huge shout out to some very special kids and their parents who dropped off homemade cookies at our station after a long night and day of running hundreds of calls due to flooding in our community. Thank you for thinking of us, the cookies are delicious! ❤🚒 ... See MoreSee Less
That was very thoughtful and I am sure appreciated. good kids and good parents
Thank you for keeping our community safe!
What great parents for raising such great kids!
Most welcome 🙂 they hope Jamie Empfield had one they said.
Thank you for your patience. We have dozens of calls pending for flooding. We are working on them. Thank you! ... See MoreSee Less
Shoutout to @BrunziesBar & Subs-n-suds for hot pizza to crews working all the flooding! We cannot thank them enough for the generosity! ... See MoreSee Less
Shout out to ALL the volunteer FF in Indiana and Armstrong Counties working together!!
Thank IDA for all you do and thanks to Brinzies and SubsNSuds for your generosity.
Stay safe out there brothers and sisters.
Yes please stay safe out there.
The Indiana Fire Association is currently handling hundreds, yes hundredths, of calls for assistance due to flooding and storm damage. ... See MoreSee Less
Thank you for all that you are doing tonight! Be safe.
Thanks for always going above and beyond! Stay safe!
Call.derry for help will to go
Praying for all of those Firemen!
God bless our Firemen! Please be careful.
Praying for everyone's safety.🙏
Be safe out there!
it's gonna be a long night. Stay safe!
God bless you all stay safe
Thank you!! You are the best!
Praying for all Thank you !!!
Prayers for everyone!
Thank you all for your selfless work. Stay safe!
Stay safe !
Thank you for your hard work!
Thank you for everything you guys do!
PSA: Severe weather is forecasted to include the potential for hail, heavy rain, gusting winds. USE CAUTION. Watch for emergency workers! ... See MoreSee Less
i hope the Garden will be ok
6 days ago
Volunteers of the Association are responding to utility lines down on Ferguson Road near Ash Drive, White Township. USE CAUTION IN AREA!! ... See MoreSee Less
Volunteers of the Association are on station due to reports of flooding. As soon as he rain stops we will access each call for assistance. ... See MoreSee Less
Volunteers of Companies 4 & 1 are responding to a commercial fire alarm, 612 Philadelphia Street, First Commonwealth Bank, Indiana Borough ... See MoreSee Less
hope every thing is ok
Volunteers of the Rescue Squad are responding to a gas leak in the 100 block of Church Street, Indiana Borough. ... See MoreSee Less
Stay safe brothers