Then and Now

While its mission of service has remained unchanged, the way things are done has!

  • In the early days, there were only day crews at the firehouse. Today, sleeping crews keep the building staffed twenty-four hours a day.
  • When the department was first established, its chief fundraiser was an annual Fireman’s Carnival (still hosted each June). Today, financial support comes from many other sources. But one thing hasn’t changed – the department still must raise a substantial amount of money to support its annual operating budget of $300,000.
  • Up until the 1980s it was typical for firefighters to ride on the backboards of the fire engines to a fire, even in torrential rain and winter weather. For safety reasons, no one clings to the outside of a fire engine any more.
  • In the past, the RVFRD’s personnel were referred to as “firemen.” Today, both men and women serve as firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians.
  • Just like in the 1940s, the lure of community service often begins in the teenage years. The department still trains and employs the community’s young people and mobilizes them to serve their community. Many who begin as teens grow with the department and continue to serve long into their adult years. Then they pass it down to their children and grandchildren.
  • “One thing is different about today’s youngsters,” says one old-timer volunteer. “They love the action jobs, and aren’t as interested as they used to be in stuff like fundraising. Maybe it’s because television glamorizes the high-adrenaline parts of our job.” So the department has an Auxiliary made up of volunteers who prefer not to ride trucks at all hours of the night. These dedicated people are responsible for the back-end support that keeps the department healthy.
  • As is still the case in many small communities across the country today, the local fire station is the hub of community life in Remington. Regular fundraising events, such as its monthly Pancake Breakfast, draw locals for more than just the food. The fire station is the place to catch up on community news.
  • In the old days, the volunteers learned their skills as they went along. Not so today. The Commonwealth of Virginia requires volunteer fire and rescue personnel to have six months of training before they can serve.