Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company is in the market for a make-over to its fire station.
The 85-year-old company wants to upgrade expand its station on Baldwin Mill Road, to the tune of $3 million, president Ted Burkhardt said during the company's annual banquet Saturday night.
"We are planning our future," Burkhardt told the dozens of firefighter and emergency medical volunteers gathered at the fire company's meeting and banquet hall next to the station.
The company is working with an architect and starting a feasibility study on the proposed expansion.
Burkhardt said he hopes to make a presentation on the study this summer and ultimately present the plan to the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association and county government.
"We know this will not happen in a couple of years, but we want to be ready when the county is ready to help us out," he said.
After the banquet, Burkhardt said the current building was built 20 years ago at a cost $1 million.
The building needs updated bunk rooms, showers and other facilities as volunteers spent more time living at the station, he said.
"The more calls we get, it's easier" to have fewer volunteers driving from their houses, he said.
He was not sure exactly how big the addition might be but said it would mean tacking on a second story, as the building cannot be expanded on either side.
He said the company has continued raising money through various fund drives.
Fire response time reduced
Chief Rudy Walter told Saturday's gathering the company has reduced its response times to fires from an average 3.5 minutes to 1.5 to 2 minutes.
Jarrettsville responded to 472 fire and rescue calls for 2013, as well as 1,017 EMS calls. The volunteers spent 12,099 hours responding to calls.
The emergency medical service call response time also barely met the goal of five minutes, clocking in at 4 minutes and 49 seconds, Walter said.
The company continued to grow its social media presence, getting close to 3,000 "likes" on its Facebook page.
The company is also continuing to overhaul its website, which Walter said has received more than 1 million views.
"It's pretty incredible," he said.
Walter said members spent more than 5,000 hours attending different classes or committees.
"Without the hard work and dedication of those who serve on these committees , we couldn't be where we are today," he said.
Burkhardt also said the station got a "state-of-the-art" security system inside and outside the building and consolidated the various alarm companies it had been using.
Bunk beds, bathrooms and kitchen facilities had been upgraded and the engine bays were painted, he said.
The company's Firefighter of the Year award was given to Michael Galbreath.
Mark Grubb received a standing ovation for becoming the newest member of the Harford-Cecil Volunteer Firemen's Association Hall of Fame.
The top ten fire responders for 2013 were: Dave Hebden Jr., with 192 calls; Mark Grubb with 195 calls; Michael Parker with 203 calls; Michael Galbreath with 207 calls; John Simpson III and Rob Parks with 214 calls each; Mark Mahan with 219 calls; Rudy Walter with 221 calls; Chad Haden with 221 calls; John Lassack with 250 calls; Cody Klapka with 278 calls; and Ben Kurtz with 395 calls.
The top ten EMS responders were: Ernest Racey with 91 calls; Michael Galbreath with 98 calls; Lindsey Murray with 100 calls; Anita Farinetti with 110 calls; Denessa Fruhling with 138 calls; Rick Tauson with 143 calls; Ted Burkhardt with 154 calls; Jack Mory with 167 calls; Debbie Woodfin with 176 calls; and John Lassack with 356 calls.
Banquet chairwoman Janet McDonald asked for special recognition for the ladies auxiliary, which she said does not usually get media attention.
Several members of the auxiliary and firefighters were honored for their many years of service.
Dorothy Grimmel and Anna Tipton were honored for 65 years of service, Donald Wiley for 50 years, James Bair for 45 years, Len Bostain Jr. and Philip Hartline for 30 years, Denessa Fruhling for 25 years and Missy Altenburg for 20 years.