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Fire Company

Posted on: January 24, 2023

The Media Fire Company, Your Hometown First Responders

Media Fire and Hook and Ladder Company Number 1 - Volunteers Since 1891

Learn the ways you can support the Media Fire Company

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The Media Fire Company was founded in 1891 and was an entirely volunteer fire company until about 25 years ago when the EMS (ambulance) began being staffed with paid personnel. Although the earliest efforts lacked equipment, funding and a permanent station, the dedicated volunteers persevered. The founding members sponsored fundraising fairs, contributed their own money and used their own properties to help establish the first fire company. Over the years they purchased a steam engine and a hose cart. Adding more equipment and upgrading through the years, the Media Fire Company later added an ambulance division and eventually a ladder truck to their complement. 

Today, the Media Fire Company operates two engines, a truck company, a rescue, one basic life support ambulance and one advanced life support ambulance. Similar to when the Fire Company first started, the volunteers at the fire department are passionate about keeping the Media Fire Company going. We recently surveyed residents and property owners in Media Borough to see what they thought about the Media Fire Company and how it operates. Below we present our survey findings and provide information about the Fire Company that explain further how the fire company operates and how you can help. 

Fire Company Volunteers:

What is your perception of how frequently the Media Fire Company is called outside of the borough to assist other fire departments?56% believed that 26-50% of 300 calls were outside of the borough24% believed 10-25% are outside of the borough19% believed that 51-75% are outside of the boroughFrom September 1, 2020 until August 21, 2021 the department has responded to assist other fire departments 138 times. They have responded to 326 emergencies total. 42% of assists were to other fire departments.
What is the average number of responders to a fire incident?64% of those surveyed believe it would be 4-10 firefighters per incidentThe average number of responders to a fire incident is 4.5

Volunteers are rapidly decreasing in fire departments throughout Delaware County. For this reason, our Media Fire Company is called to assist other boroughs quite frequently. The only way to prevent this is for the fire department to have more volunteers. The more volunteers, the more attentive the fire department can be to its own borough and have enough firefighters to send to help out other boroughs and townships within Delaware County as well.

How to Volunteer:

Are the Media firefighters paid or volunteer?55% of those surveyed thought volunteers33% of those surveyed thought a combination of both paid and volunteerThe department has no paid firefighters at this time and relies on an increasingly small pool of volunteers to man the company.
What circumstances keep you from volunteering with the Media Fire Company?42% of those surveyed don’t have the time to volunteer41% of those surveyed feel that they do not have the skills or training to become a firefighterYou do not need any prior skills or training to become a firefighter. Training is included when you volunteer for the Media Fire Company

The Media Fire Company currently has 19 firefighters, 7 EMS providers and 8 administrative and support members. The department has no paid firefighters at this time and is all volunteer. The Fire Company does have 3 fulltime and 8 part time Emergency Medical Technicians that respond to EMS emergencies on the department’s ambulances. 

The optimal number of firefighters per the National Fire Protection Volunteer Fire Department response guideline for a building fire (NFPA 1720) is 15 firefighters. Fire departments that respond as automatic aid to assist Media on a building fire count towards that number. Smaller incidents require less firefighters; however, this shows how the fire department is vastly under staffed in all areas and is looking for volunteers.

Contrary to public opinion there is no prior experience needed to volunteer with the fire department. The Media Fire Company will give you all of the training and equipment that you need for free. Whatever your background, whatever your talents, there’s a place for you at the Media Fire Company.

There are a variety of volunteer roles within our department ranging in time commitment, including:

  • Firefighters: Respond to fire calls, traffic accidents, rescues and other dangerous situations.
  • Fire Police: Ensure the safety of firefighters responding to an emergency by directing traffic and providing security and crowd control.
  • Contributing Members: Assist the fire department with administrative tasks, fundraising, and special events. 
  • Junior Firefighter (ages 16-17): Help out at fire calls and around the station, and learn the skills you need to become a firefighter when you turn 18. 

Fire Company Equipment:

How frequently do you believe a fire engine needs to be replaced?41% of those surveyed believe every 10 years30% of those surveyed believe every 15 yearsThe service life of a fire truck can be between 25 and 30 years depending on use and how the truck is maintained
What do you believe the cost of a ladder truck is?27% of those surveyed believe between $1,000,000 to $1,250,00040% of those surveyed believe between $1,251,000 to $1,500,000Depending on the manufacturer and options the fire department wants it can cost almost $1,700,000. To replace the existing Snorkel aerial device this year it would cost $1,400,000.

The maintenance and purchase of equipment is one of the largest costs of the fire department. Without this equipment the department would not be able to respond to emergencies as efficiently and safely. In 2020 a pumper was purchased at the cost of $629,000. 

The department has a current snorkel aerial device primarily due to the trolley catenary wires on State Street. This apparatus also allows firefighters to reach the upper floors of numerous old and new buildings located in the borough and it provides 42 feet of horizontal reach over the tops of some of those buildings when it is needed. The department needs a ladder truck for more than just the aerial device or part that goes in the air. The apparatus carries 175 ft of ground ladders of various sizes for the different sized buildings in the Borough, and specialized equipment like, saws, rope, a stokes basket, exhaust fans, extra lights, salvage and overhaul equipment, and firefighter rescue equipment.


Using your best guess, how much of the Fire Company’s operating budget do you think comes from taxpayer funds?26% of those surveyed believed it is 25%Another 26% of those surveyed believe it is 50%21% of those surveyed believe it is 75% A portion of the Fire Company’s operating budget comes from taxpayer funds. See below for details*
What do you think the yearly budget of the Fire Company is? 40% of those surveyed believed it was $500,000 per year25% of those surveyed believed it was $250,000 per yearThe Fire Company’s annual  operating budget is approximately  $950,000 per year 

*The Media Fire Company budgeting relies on several sources of income to operate efficiently. Media Borough directly pays for fuel, building insurance, vehicle insurance, vehicle equipment, fire hydrant rental and contributions to an apparatus replacement fund. The Fire Company must budget for all other expenses such as equipment insurance, utilities, phones, and anything else that is necessary for day to day operations. Without borough budgeted direct expense payments, the Media Fire Company would not be able to fund operations. An increase in donations and volunteer recruitment are two vital components, critical to the continued service residents have come to expect from their fire company.

The Media Fire Company greatly depends on donations to support their efforts. Of those surveyed, 51% do currently donate to the fire company and 49% do not. Of those surveyed, 47% of respondents would spend $100 per year to maintain the Media Fire Company in the borough. 

Assuming 47% of all the the properties in Media contributed $100 annually to the Fire Fund, the total annual donations would reach $143,000.

In 2019, Fire Fund gross donations (before expenses) were $15,338.00 and the average donation was approximately $64. The total percentage of properties that submitted donations was 7.9%. 

The survey results show that residents feel very positive about the Media Fire Company and that the majority of respondents either already do support the fire company or feel it’s important to contribute to the Fire Company; however, the 2019 donation numbers don’t reflect that sentiment.

There are several ways in which you can donate to the Media Fire Company. The best way to support the fire company is by visiting their website to donate via the form online. The Media Fire Company also hosts several fundraisers including but not limited to Spirit Night at Rita’s, the Give Back Event at Iron Hill Brewery and their open house. Around this time of year, during Fire Prevention Week in October, the fire department sends out a mailing which makes donating easy. Simply return the envelope with your donation.

86% of survey respondents feel that it is very important to have a Fire Company located within the borough

Of the individuals surveyed, 86% believe that having a Fire Company within the Borough is extremely important. Media Borough residents and property owners are extremely lucky to have a dedicated borough fire company, but our “hometown” fire company needs your help.   Please consider volunteering and donating to the Media Fire Company. Both of these are essential to keeping our Media Fire Company a sustainable and helpful resource for our residents and businesses. To view the full results of the survey please click here.

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