The Melville Volunteer Fire Department is a group of men and women who volunteer to provide fire and emergency medical services to the community 24-hours a day, every day. The area we protect is a political subdivision known as the Melville Fire District, which is governed by a Board of Fire Commissioners. The Melville Fire District is 15 square miles located in the middle of Long Island, NY and includes over 7,100 homes and 1,100 businesses. Located on the crossroads of the Long Island Expressway, Route 110 and the Northern State Parkway, we have over 250,000 people passing through the district each day. We respond to over 2,400 calls for help each year.
The Melville Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1947 when some local residents recognized the need for fire protection. We are now composed of three companies, a Rescue Squad, and Fire Police Unit. We have over 110 members including some who respond strictly to medical emergencies. We sponsor Explorer Post #250 for youths 14 to 18 years old to get them involved with the fire department at an early age encouraging future membership.
We are led by a Chief and four Assistant Chiefs who are elected by the members. The members of each Company, the Rescue Squad, and the Fire Police Unit elect their own Captains and Lieutenants. Starting in 1960 we had the distinction of having a physician responding to calls with us.
In 1972 Melville was the first department in Suffolk County to purchase a Hurst Rescue Tool – soon to become known as “The Jaws of Life“. Originally designed to extricate racecar drivers from crashes, this tool consisted of hydraulically powered spreader arms and a cutting attachment. Instead of a hand pump like the Porta-Power, this tool was powered by a five-horsepower, gasoline engine. With a little practice, Melville’s members found that this tool made the old extrication tools and techniques obsolete. Word of the new tool spread throughout the county and we found ourselves being called for mutual aid whenever extrication was needed. The familiar pulsating sound of the two-cycle engine let everyone know that it was a “Tool Job”. This tool and its imitators have become standard equipment on all rescue vehicles.
In 1973 we were the first fire department in Suffolk County to participate in the Cardiac Emergency Technician program with our neighbors in Nassau County. By doing this, we progressed from simply maintaining a patient’s condition to actively improving it prior to arrival at the hospital by providing advanced care. This was often referred to as “bringing the hospital to the patient”. This program has since evolved into the EMT-A program that has helped save countless lives and had a tremendous impact on patients and their families.
In addition to responding to emergencies, our members spend many hours training for every possible type of emergency. Training classes include all aspects of firefighting, emergency medicine and rescue. In addition to our in-house training program, our members travel around the county and around the country seeking out seminars and training programs that will further their capabilities.
We also spend much time educating the public through our fire safety programs, open house, and first aid classes. It’s a sure sign that school is in session when the firehouse starts filling with children learning about Stop, Drop and Roll, Operation E.D.I.T.H. and other fire safety information.
When we take a break from responding to and preparing for emergencies, we have sponsored championship softball and record-setting fire department racing teams.
Through our growth and the many changes over the years one thing has not changed – We are still dedicated to the protection of life and property and providing a service to the community that is unmatched.