Rockland fire departments team up to better serve communities with first-of-its-kind effort in the county

The departments started the "Duty Crew" pilot program together this month.

Diane Caruso

Mar 28, 2024, 10:09 PM

Updated 16 days ago

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The Orangeburg and Sparkill fire departments are teaming up to better serve their communities with a first-of-its-kind effort in Rockland's fire service.
The departments started the "Duty Crew" pilot program together this month.
Some volunteers from each department sign up to spend a few hours during the day at the firehouses on Tuesday or Thursday in order to get to emergencies even faster.
"That means there might be Orangeburg members riding on Sparkill rigs. That means there might be Sparkill members riding on Orangeburg rigs," said Joshua Panter, a volunteer firefighter with Sparkill-Palisades. "Depending on the roster, we develop for the week."
It's said to be a first-of-its-kind plan in Rockland County.
They've already gone to a couple of calls as a team.
"I think it's incredible. I think that it reflects the dedication," said Panter. "if we can take out the piece where people have to respond to the firehouse, and have them already at the firehouse, ready to go, we'll get there in a lot more efficient way."
"It's an honor to be one of the first ones in Rockland," said Derek Peltz, a volunteer firefighter with Orangeburg. "Across the state and everywhere, everybody deals with such a manpower shortage and I think being able to work together, with other departments near us is so important."
About a dozen volunteers made up the "Duty Crew" Thursday morning when News 12 stopped by the Orangeburg fire house.
While they had no emergencies to go to, they were training together to keep their skills sharp.
Both fire departments tell News 12 they hope the program expands to include more days in the future.


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