Here we are in winter, once again. We are so blessed in western Pennsylvania to be able to experience the change of seasons – it keeps things fresh and different. Nothing stays the same!

Our lawn mowers are put away and our snow shovels are leaning next to the door. Our swimsuits have been switched out for sweaters and our flip flops for boots. Our lush green lawns are now barren brown or covered with a blanket of snow.

At the Fire Department, winter means change for us as well. Gone are the sights and sounds of our carnival, golf outing, and our Open House.

Our apparatus had been reviewed and prepared for the cold. The tires and snow chains are checked, extra blankets are added to the trucks, and we made sure our heaters are in working order. Our snowblower has been brought out of the shed and our snow shovels and buckets of salt are placed by our doors as well.

Not only do we prepare our station and equipment for the colder winter months, but our members have to prepare for calls a little differently as well. Our members have to make sure they have warm clothes to put on at a moment’s notice, good tires and wiper blades on their vehicles, and ice scrapers ready to go.

Adverse weather conditions directly affect our response times. Not only does it take longer for our responders to get to the station, but they also must use extreme caution while driving such large pieces of apparatus during inclement weather.

Safe practices in your home or business can help prevent an emergency call. A small effort on your part may just be enough to keep us from having to respond. Please don’t overload circuits when plugging in your holiday lighting. An overloaded extension cord can begin to overheat or burn long before anyone would ever notice it. Check your smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors – these are your first line of defense. Make sure your house numbers are legible and can easily be seen. Also, please keep your sidewalks and driveways clear.

While you’re out in the cold, shoveling away the snow, take notice of where your closest fire hydrant is and shovel a two feet circle all around it.

By helping us, you are helping yourself, your family, and your neighbors.

Winter isn’t all bad though!

Every year we host a Christmas party for the kids of the department members. We have food and games and of course, presents. Santa Clause himself even makes an appearance!

Santa also joins us every winter for our Santa Stop program. He gets to ride on our engine up and down the streets of Chippewa, stopping at designated locations, visiting our residence of all ages. Our Facebook page and website keeps everyone in the loop as far as dates and times.

Yes, every winter we must face new challenges. We train hard all year long so that we may be prepared to adapt to the changes that come our way. This winter, however, has presented us with a change that hasn’t happened in a long time.

On December 31st, after nearly twenty-three years, Chief Jaye Graham will step down as our Fire Chief.
Chief Graham has spent over 38 years in the Chippewa Fire Department. A valued member, he is certified instructor of the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy and a paramedic. Jaye has been able
to teach different classes on several levels from fire suppression, vehicle extrication, and patient care. Being an instructor was a great benefit to the department. During his tenure, the department had grown by leaps and bounds in its capabilities.

Our QRS medical response and our involvement in the Beaver County Strike Team and Beaver County Technical Rescue Team have all occurred under his leadership.

While every member plays a role in making this department one of the greatest in the county, it is safe to say that Chief Graham played a huge part in shaping us into the department we are today.
Although he has stepped down as Chief, he is going to remain a member of our department, offering his input and knowledge to help aid in a smooth transition when a new Chief is elected in the coming months.

We as a department and as a community will be forever indebted to Chief Graham. The knowledge and experience that he takes with him will take time to rebuild.

Chief Graham – for all that you have done, for all that you have taught us, and for all the sacrifices that not only you, but your family, have made so that you were able to serve us for so long and so well, we are eternally grateful.

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