The Westampton Township Fire Department and Emergency Unit was founded on August 29, 1978. On that date a group of five concerned residents met to discuss the future fire and emergency service needs of the township. During the previous year the Tarnsfield housing development had been started with the potential of adding over 1500 homes to the number already in need of protection. It was felt that a fire house located in Tarnsfield was needed to provide for the future needs of the area. The residents incorporated the Westampton Township Fire Department and Emergency Unit.
On October 5, 1978, the first meeting of the fire department was held at the Holly Hills School to set up the organization and elect officers for the fire department. Present at the meeting were fifty four township residents. By the end of 1978, the fire department had more than one hundred members.
With the organization in place, the fire department approached the Westampton Township Committee to help with the purchase of equipment and fire trucks. The fire department felt that an ambulance for the emergency unit was the first priority. Soon after this, the first vehicle purchased was a modular ambulance. The Rancocas Emergency Squad, our sister squad, donated the first aid supplies and equipment necessary to outfit the ambulance. In June, 1979, the emergency unit was responded to its first calls.
With the emergency unit in service, the fire department turned to getting four fire trucks (purchased from other fire departments) into service. The members worked long hours repairing, sanding, and painting these trucks. The equipment for the trucks came from many places such other area fire departments, local businesses, and private donations. After much hard work, time, and effort these units were placed in service.
The beginning of 1980 saw the fire department responding to both fire and ambulance calls from the Cheveron gas station located on Route 541. (Yes, the apparatus responded out of the bays of the gas station). But the fire department had not been standing still. In September, the members started to work on the new firehouse site which was located on land bought from the township for $1.00. Members of the fire department and ladies auxiliary all lent their skills to help with the building of the firehouse. By October of 1981, the building was completed enough for the fire department to move the fire trucks and the ambulance in.
The fire department had been responding to calls with the fire trucks that were originally purchased by the department. With the age of these trucks and the number of calls increasing for the fire department, it was felt that new trucks were needed. In July 1983, the fire department acquired two new trucks, a 300 gallon mini-pumper and a 1,250 gpm pumper.
The next ten years or so were rather uneventful. However, as times changed in society the department was struggling to get full crews out during the day. This was a problem being seen not only county-wide, but all around the country in many places. This resulted in the township hiring the first two career personnel for the Westampton Fire and Emergency Services in October of 1999.
In 2000 the township had continued to grow at a rapid pace. The total call volume had greatly increased, and as a result there was an increase in staffing as well. The career employees now work 24-hours shifts and seven days a week to assure residents that emergency services will be provided at all times. A bunk-wing has also been added on to the station to house the employees and sleep-in volunteers for their overnight.
As we stand today the department currently has a career Chief, Lieutenant / Emergency Management Coordinator (Acting Deputy Chief), 9 full time career staff employees, 6 per diem employees and 50 volunteers that work together. This work force responded to 2,997 incidents in 2014. Further breaking that number down they responded to 1,933 EMS incidents, 290 MVA’s, 284 Alarm Systems, 297 Hazardous Conditions, and 193 Fires (Houses, Buildings, Autos and Brush).
The volunteer membership continues to grow as the department gets busier and betters itself through training and a high standard of service on a daily basis. We are continually looking towards the future in making Westampton Township a safe place for you, your family, and all commuters.