By Chris 'Bubba' Kalisak, Firefighter/EMT
Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department
First, let me tell you something about myself and my involvement with the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department. This column, "In Quarters," refers to firefighters being available in their fire house.
My name is Christopher Kalisak, but many of you know me as "Bubba." I am a dedicated member of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps for more than eight years.
I first joined the BCVFD as a Dispatcher, then became a probie firefighter back in 1999, rising along the way to become a second grade firefighter as well as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). I have recently been promoted for a second term as EMS Lieutenant in charge of the BCVFD's ambulance services. I am also a Fire Alarm Dispatcher for the FDNY, one of the benefits of being a BCVFD member. I will be writing this article called "In Quarters" frequently in The Wave to update you on the many goings on in Broad Channel and the surrounding communities.
For the past 102 years the BCVFD has provided fire and ambulance service to the Broad Channel community. We have also responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9-11-01 and the crash of Flight 587 on 11-12-01 in the Rockaways.
The BCVFD was started in 1905 as a bucket brigade to minimize property damage due to fires. In 1907 the brigade was formally organized as the Broad Channel Fire Association under our first Chief, Edward H. Schleuter.
The current firehouse at 15 Noel Road was opened in 1908 and the original building is still standing tall and proud! It was not until 1917 that we received our fire charter from the state of New York where we were and are still known as the Broad Channel Volunteers.
In 1956 under the direction of Chief Robert H. Russell Sr. we added our ambulance service to provide first aid and ambulance service to the community of Broad Channel. If some of you remember the summers of the 1950's and 1960's, the FDNY used to send Engine 267 from the Rockaways to aid the BCVFD in firefighting, since the two drawbridges from Howard Beach to Rockaway were always being opened to allow passing cargo ships through Jamaica Bay.
This was the start of our close working relationship with the FDNY, EMS, and the NYPD. We also have established good relationships with fire departments in Nassau and Suffolk counties, sometimes doing mutual aid with those departments. And we have a "junior" fire department that was started in the 1970's, which helps young teens, both boys and girls, to learn early all the aspects of firefighting, EMS, and dispatching. Once they turn 18 years old these juniors can then join our senior department with some advanced knowledge and leadership skills.
The BCVFD is a 501(c) 3 not for profit organization, and we solely depend on donations, door to door fund drives, and our famous Mardi-Gras! Speaking of Fund Drives…we have delivered a full color flyer to the entire town this past week with a message from the Chief as well as some safety tips and pictures of our past and present members in action.
We are always looking for new members but we understand many cannot dedicate their time. However, there are other ways to help your volunteers. For more info contact us at 718-474-6888, online at www.broadchannelvfd.org , or e-mail me at bubbafdny190k@ aol.com to share a past story, a new idea, or some pictures. On behalf of all the members at the BCVFD we thank you all!