Established in 1949 as a volunteer fire department by Chief Charles Smith Jr., the mission of the Hermon Fire Department has greatly expanded.
Since its establishment, the department has seen many changes and improvements.
The Fire Station: In 1971 the department moved from its original location, currently the Hermon Town office, to a newly constructed metal building located directly adjacent the Town Office on Billings Road. The newly built three bay fire station, brought with it office space, more room for equipment and was more efficient than the originally fire station. In 1981, with a very active and growing department, town and fire officials saw the need for growth, adding a wooden addition to the fire station, which consisted of a day room/ training room, full kitchen, maintenance & storage room and a hose tower. The department operated out of that building for the next 38 years until the new Hermon Public Safety Building was constructed in 2009. The 10 bay, nearly 12,000 square foot building, is the Towns Emergency Operations Center, housing the fire department, police department, public works department and council chambers. This new building fulfilled the need of this growing Town well into the future.
The equipment: Advancement in equipment has been essential for the efficiency and safety of our firefighters. The days of long rubber coats, tin fire helmets and pull up rubber boots, have been replaced with better materials made to resist fire, offer full body protection with pants, coats, leather fire boots, composite fire helmets and self contained breathing apparatus, allowing firefighters to breathe fresh air in toxic smoked filled environments. In 1997 with the help from the Galen Cole Foundation Hermon was able to place its first thermal imaging camera into service. This greatly increased the chances of finding victims in smoky environments by allowing the firefighters to “see through” smoke and assisted firefighters in creating less damage during salvage and overhaul operations. Hermon currently has three thermal imaging cameras in service.
The Fire Department has also seen major improvements to their fleet of firefighting apparatus. Currently operating 5 vehicles, the department is well prepared to handle the vast range of emergency incidents that take place in the Town of Hermon and surrounding communities. Engine 411 is a 2009 Ferrara Pumper with a 1250 GPM pump and 1000 gallons of water, this truck is the work horse for the department, responding to all fires and major emergencies. Engine 401 is a 1996 Freightliner Pumper with a 1250 GPM pump and 1000 gallons of water, this truck responds second due to all fires, and first due to all service calls within the Town. Engine 412 is the first due engine to all wildland fires, housing a majority of our wildland firefighting hose and equipment, it is also the training apparatus for our members to first learn how to drive and operate a fire pump. Tanker 404 is the newest peice of equipment, 2015 Freightliner/Midwest tanker/pumper carrying 3000 gallons of water with a 1250 GPM pump; its main job is to supply water to an engine operating at the scene of a building or wildland fire. 406 is a 2009 Ford 350 crew cab pickup, it services the department in a number of functions. In the spring and summer months its main job is as a wildland/ brush truck, housing a 100 gallon water tank, 50 GPM pump and assorted forestry equipment. The truck responds to all wildland incidents. The truck also services as transportation for members to emergency incidents and allow the department to transport its inflatable rescue boat.
Personnel has been with biggest advancement within the Hermon Fire Department over the past 50 years, with the appointment of Chief Larry Willis in 1994 Hermon saw its first full time Fire Chief, giving Hermon a much faster response time during the day to emergency incidents. In addition to a full time fire chief, in August of 2003 the department took another giant leap forward becoming part of the Fire Science Live-in program with Eastern Maine Community College. This program allows students to live at the fire station for free and in exchange provided staffing to the department. These students received training in basic firefighting techniques, emergency driving of fire apparatus, and allowed for a quicker response during day and night hours. In 2007 Hermon expanded its firefighting staff, hiring its second fulltime employee, a Firefighter/EMT to provide day time coverage Monday through Friday. Responsible for not only responding to all emergency and non-emergency incidents during the day, he is also the departments training officer, responsible for keep all members current with mandated training.
The fire department has also worked very diligently in the area of fire prevention. In 2005 the Department was awarded a Federal Assistance to Firefighters grant through the Department of Homeland Security. Thanks to this grant and a 10% match from the Town, we were able to offer the residents of Hermon free smoke detectors with 10-year batteries. The members of this department installed roughly 5500 smoke detectors, in about 1300 homes. And On March 13, 2008 the Maine Fire Commission awarded the Hermon Fire Department their Best Practice Award “In recognition for providing and installing free smoke detectors with 10-year batteries for the residents of Hermon.
April 17, 2009 the department earned another Best Practice Award from the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission for the “success in improving our Community I.S.O. ratings though enhanced rural water supply evolutions, training and mutual aid practices.”
The department has also worked very hard in updating the Towns fire protection ordnance. Some highlights include, requirement of a minimum 120,000 gallon fire pond in residential subdivisions / land developments of a certain size located outside of the pressurized water district, fire lanes around all commercial buildings to provide adequate access by fire department equipment and personnel. The department also maintains all 32 dry fire hydrants located throughout the town, providing a water supply in the event of a fire.
The Hermon Fire Department has seen many changes over the past 50 year with advancement in response, equipment, and personnel and we’re well prepared for future. Always ready at a moment’s notice to respond to any emergency, we proudly serve the Town of Hermon and surrounding communities. “We got it from here.”
Captain Chandler Corriveau