Niverville Fire Department, Inc.

Filling Swimming Pools
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Pools Filled in our Fire District

It’s that time of year!  Filling your pool with water?  See us doing a drill or heard we “fill pools?”  So, while we do not answer questions for other departments, we can answer some frequently asked questions.....about water and pools.
1. Yes, we do fill pools.  First, it is as time permits. 
2. Why?  We think it provides a couple objectives.  It is sort of a community service.  Primarily, we do it for “drill practice” wherein the truck operators practice “water supply” and drafting water (sucking it up from the lake). 
3. Lake water?  Yes, it is often lake water.  Sometimes, it is drinking water, depends what is on the tanker the day we deliver.  Usually, if you are filling a pool it takes several loads, you WILL get lake water.  The fish and birds drink it every day.  People drink it filtered into their wells. :-) If you never used it to fill a pool, it works fine.  You “shock” your pool, wait a day and filter as usual.  Takes a day or so and it is fine.
4. Is it expensive?  Everything is relative.  Because of the rising costs of fuel and maintenance to the trucks, we have reluctantly raised our fee to 4 cents a gallon for the first tanker load (up to 5,000 gallons) and 3 cents a gallon for every following load for your fill up.  Here is a web link to calculate what to expect:  There are others online.
5. Who does this again?  We are not aware of anyone in our district offering this, but obviously there are commercial enterprises who will deliver water to you.  Some guarantee drinking water, clear spring water, etc.  Some even heat and treat it.  We offer Kinderhook Lake’s finest. :-) We do not try and compete.  We do want to help those in our district who need us, and help us practice our craft.
6. When can you do it?  We do it when time and equipment is available.  First, do understand if a fire alarm come is, we will have to reschedule.  Thankfully, the summer is usually quiet, but it does happen.  Generally, we try and schedule these early evenings when three or four members are available.  We have to put a truck at the lake to pump water, and a tanker to shuttle it to your pool.  Usually, we schedule these within a few days.  Bear in mind, we are all volunteers trying to help.  We do not get paid.  We have things to do, but we “donate” the time needed for our practice and to help you.  Please be patient. 
7. Will you wreck my lawn?  Hopefully, no. :-) The tanker with water is over 55,000 pounds.  We will use hoses to fill your pool.  Takes time.  We will require someone be home, and we often will have someone stop by to look it over before the delivery.
8.  Do you like pool parties?  Well, yes we do.  We are just like everyone else.  We probably will skip a dip that day.  We also have strict policy about drinking and operating equipment.  But we like a cold soda on a hot day. :-) We rarely will say no to a slice of pizza.  We find all the pizza places and sub makers nearby do a good job.  But, we do not need anything that day.  We have a gym room to maintain fitness.  The staff who use it make fun of those of us who only know where it is in the station.  But, we fill pools as volunteers.  It’s just a job.  One of many.  We almost always have applications with us.  Ask; we will explain what it takes to be a member of the proud group of men and women of the Niverville Fire Department.
9.  What if my pool just needs a foot of water and I can’t use my well?  As we said, this is practice and a community service.  If your pool is an above ground 18 foot pool and it needs a foot of water, we will come, sure.  No problem.  Using the calculator, that comes out to 1,900 gallons or $76.00.  There is also a gauge on the truck that gives us a similar answer.  Without a calculator, we might “guess” 2,000 gallons or so and with our great mathematical skills guess $80.00 it is not much more scientific than that. We are just trying to make sure we cover the costs of fuel for two trucks, and the wear and tear of maintenance.  We are not trying to run a moneymaking operation.  But, in fairness to the District we serve that do not have pools, we try and just cover expenses.  We are your neighbors, pretty much.
10.  How many pools in the District?  Good question.  Hundreds.  Thankfully, they do not all need to be filled from scratch every year! :-)
11.  How do I arrange this?  Generally the best way to do so is to call our Station # 1 anytime at (518) 784-3300.  Never call “911" as that is NOT answered in our station.  “911" is answered at the Public Safety center in Greenport by emergency dispatchers.  They handle all land based and cell callers looking for police, fire and ambulance assistance anywhere in Columbia County.  They should not be called for non-emergency requests like pool fills.  They do have a non-emergency number, (518) 828-4114, to ask questions and report things like controlled burns.  But, they do not handle day-to-day functions of any of the departments.  Please, only call our station at 784-3300.  Generally, someone will call you back in a day or two, often, sooner.   Just leave a message, your name, a description what you’ll need, where it is needed, and a good number to get back in touch.
12.  How will I pay?  Payment is needed at the time of service.  We take cash or checks.  We do not have a credit card service. 
13.  What if I like your staff so much I want to donate more?  You can always donate to our fire department.  We are not part of the government.  We do receive the majority of our funding to operate from the Town of Kinderhook followed by the Town of Chatham.  We are a “not for profit” corporation.  Your donation(s) are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service and the state of New York.   We can issue you a receipt for donations.  However, also understand the IRS and State regulations are strict in what a donation is.  This means, it must be a donation that is not tied to a service.  The pool fil is not a deductible donation (though we wish it could be).  Anything above the fee is, though.  We are not the IRS.  You do not need to tip the staff.  They do like pizza and soda, though. :-) 
14.  Anything else you guys need?  Sort of off topic.  We respond to a lot of car accidents.  We always need cars to practice “extrication.”  Using a lot of various tools (you are probably familiar with the “jaws of life” but there are actually quite a few more and different tools used).  With the popularity of “junking” cars, no one has them around much.  We do issue a tax receipt for those cars donated to us.  We use a few each year in drills.  We will dispose of it, or you can have it back if you want to “junk” it.  But, that’s off topic.
15.  Sounds like fun, can I join?  Well, since we are off topic now, sure. Ages 16 until your 18th birthday, you can join the department as a Junior Firefighter.  On your 18th birthday, you will become a full firefighter.  There is a lot of training needed for some tasks.  There are some firefighters that complete “Scene Support” and their main function is to support “Interior” or air pack firefighters who enter burning buildings.  Interior firefighters complete Firefighter I, and some also complete Firefighter II.  There are many more courses.  None become interior firefighters without first demonstrating their skills in training, and back here in the department at drills.  Some complete specialized courses for hazardous materials, swift water rescue, ice rescue, extrication, firefighter rescue; the courses are many and diverse.  Scared of the water?  No problem, everyone has some specialty, everyone has something they’d rather not do based on fear.  Afraid of heights?  Why would we put you on a ladder or roof?  Plenty of things to do well, we will assign you an appropriate task based on your skills.  Essentially, the motivation of the volunteer and their time available are the main factors in the type of job and training taken.  If you are motivated, we will present tons of opportunity to excel. All we ask is your motivation to help your neighbors and fellow firefighters by showing up and trying hard.  We do require you attend sufficient training and drills, and answer 20% of the calls for service annually.  If you are still in school or college, the calls for service while in school do not count against you, either.  Education is very important to us.  Generally, our experience is those who stay a year never miss the calls for service requirement.  We have staff that work in Albany and have no trouble making the minimums.  And, no, we do not want you racing back here, either.  In reality, most members make 50% and up. If you make drills and a couple calls a week, you will exceed minimums an likely make the top half fairly easily.  With modern building codes, there are not as many fires as there were 30 years ago.  We like that.  

The Niverville Fire Department is a 501 (C) (3) not for profit agency under the rules of the IRS.  Donations are tax deductible as permitted by law.