Ship Bottom Offers Year-Round Living and Employment Opportunities

Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company (SBVFC) is calling on individuals to liven up their off-season by becoming a volunteer. With the seasonal crowds gone, the island of Ship Bottom, NJ, is experiencing a quieter and slower period. However, Chief Todd MacLennan emphasizes that this is the perfect time to join as the off-season is training season for SBVFC. During the summer months, the fire company receives approximately 300 emergency calls, but the lower call volume in the off-season allows for more practice burns and training sessions. Seasoned firefighters, water rescue associates, and fire police have the opportunity to mentor new volunteers, which is particularly valuable for those without previous experience. MacLennan encourages prospective volunteers to dip their toes in the water, attend meetings, and join drills, stating that this is the best time of year to join.

Peter Maschal, a volunteer firefighter with SBVFC, signed up and enrolled in fire school after his twin daughters left for college. Fall 2010 was an ideal time for Maschal as his chiropractic practice had a less hectic schedule after the seasonal residents departed. Maschal had no prior firefighting experience, but the free training and drills with experienced SBVFC firefighters gave him the confidence to know what he was doing when he went on the fire truck. Maschal wanted to give back to his community and help his neighbors, and the off-season provided him with the time to commit to firefighting classes.

For Aidan Ryan, a volunteer firefighter and insurance agent, the draw to firefighting was the feeling of being part of a team and something bigger than himself. Having previously played baseball in college, Ryan missed the brotherhood of his teammates. He finds it fulfilling to be able to help the community and describes being a firefighter as fun. Whether it’s rescuing someone in trouble on the water or roadway or preventing tragedies by changing smoke detectors, the satisfaction of making a difference is immeasurable.

SBVFC Chief MacLennan highlights that the fire company is a reflection of the Ship Bottom community, with contributions from both seasonal and year-round residents and individuals who work on the island. Commuting off the island for work themselves, MacLennan and other volunteers recognize the invaluable contributions of those who live elsewhere but spend their work days in Ship Bottom. Seasonal resident volunteers, many of whom are firefighters or lifeguards during the off-season, provide additional support during high call volumes.

SBVFC is in need of various types of volunteers, including firefighters who respond to fires, water rescues, car accidents, and emergencies, as well as water rescue specialists who utilize their skills to rescue people from the water. Fire Police play a vital role in managing crowds and traffic to bring calm and order to all emergencies. Junior firefighters, who are teen members, train with and assist the team and can become full firefighters at 18. Additionally, administrative members perform non-emergency roles such as fundraising, event support, and truck maintenance.

Maschal emphasizes the value of non-emergency volunteers, as their work allows the fire company to continue helping people and eases the burden on emergency volunteers. To learn more about volunteering with Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company, individuals can visit shipbottomfirefighters.org.

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