Fee visits Elizabeth Twp. to honor fire chief

By on February 14, 2018

Outgoing Brickerville Fire Chief Jeff Strauss was honored by State Representative Mindy Fee during Monday’s Elizabeth Township supervisors meeting. Strauss also received commendation from Senator Ryan Aument. Strauss, a fourth generation firefighter, has been with the Brickerville Fire Company for 38 years.

Strauss has 38 years of firefighting experience with Brickerville

State Representative Mindy Fee was on hand at the Elizabeth Township Supervisors’ Feb. 12 meeting to present an award to outgoing Brickerville Fire Chief Jeff Strauss.

Strauss rose up through the ranks of the all-volunteer organization and accepted the position of chief after the untimely death of long-time chief Sid Adams in 2012. He’s a fourth-generation firefighter with 38 years of service.

Fee read a declaration from the House of Representatives celebrating Strauss for his many years of dedicated service to the community. Although he could not be present, Senator Ryan Aument also secured similar recognition from his side of the State Capitol.

“I look at all the things that cost our townships money, and I look at the volunteer fire companies, and they are such a blessing!” Fee said.

“Thank you,” Strauss said. “This is not called for, but I appreciate it.”

He mentioned that the fire company added a good group of new volunteers within the last year who are being trained. He also said mutual aid between local fire companies has been beneficial, and that the fire company is “doing a lot with less.”

“Jeff has been really instrumental in leading Brickerville forward into regionalization and doing more with less,” said Duane Ober, administrator for the Warwick Emergency Services Commission. “The job he’s done has been heroic.”

Strauss will continue to serve as Brickerville’s assistant fire chief. Stepping into the chief position is Dennis Strauss, another dedicated volunteer and Jeff’s distant relative.

Immediately after the recognition of Chief Strauss, Ober made his 2017 year-end report.

He said his job is to help administer the local “fire companies, and somewhat the ambulances and emergency management.”

Part of Ober’s responsibility is the recruiting and training of volunteers. Last year was exceptionally good on that front, with 28 of 50 applicants going on to become members of the Brickerville, Brunnerville, Lititz or Rothsville fire companies. Ober makes sure the background and medical checks are completed for new members.

He also helps complete plan reviews for new buildings and create emergency management plans for businesses. He suggested that the township look at its building requirements and consider requiring a Knox Box for commercial buildings. The box would contain a key so that the fire company can enter buildings when necessary.

“If the alarm is going off in the middle of the night and the person with the keys is in Berks County, a Knox Box would allow us to enter the building, do what we need to do and secure the building when we leave.”

One of the favorite duties of his position is making presentations at schools. The students at New Haven Mennonite School in Elizabeth Township are especially enthusiastic.

“We don’t put on our equipment any more when we go there. They get dressed up in the fire gear and have a great time,” Ober said.

Ober has also coordinated trainings between the four fire companies, including a recent event with UGI about natural gas emergencies that was attended by 50 local volunteers. He is initiating a feasibility study to look at questions of consolidation and mergers.

“We are looking ahead because we are doing well now,” he said.

He added that the four local fire companies are “one of the few regional cooperatives in the area. I would like to create a real model of what we’re doing here.”

Forging the Future

In other business, a motion to accept the Forge the Future 2022 recommendations as the township and regional comprehensive plan was tabled until next month’s supervisors meeting. Although the Elizabeth Township Planning Commission has reviewed and recommended the plan, the supervisors will wait until the Lancaster County Planning Commission reviews and comments on the plan at its Feb. 26 meeting.

Supervisor Chairman Brian Wiker noted that the plan includes “very little from Elizabeth Township,” and said that, “If we don’t start planning for our future, the next generation is going to suffer… We need to talk about ways our community can grow so it’s possible for us to have new (road department) trucks, new infrastructure, and other amenities.”

More information about Forge the Future 2022 is available at forge2022.com.

Water Quality

Although the township received a waiver from compliance with the state’s MS4 requirements, it is suggested that the municipality continue to take small steps toward compliance, such as public education and documentation.

Toward that end, the road crew recently moved an oil tank away from the municipal building’s water well and repaired the well cap, and is working to address water runoff from washing the trucks. These efforts count toward the stormwater management plan.

“We don’t want to expect to get a waiver every five years, then not get it and have to scramble to create (stormwater management) plans and find the funding,” township manager Loren Miller said.

Representative Fee said that she will watch for grants to become available and will support the township in its efforts to comply with these state-mandated stormwater control requirements.

Other Business

  • Supervisors granted a time extension for the Tractor Supply and Dollar General projects at the intersection of Routes 501 and 322.
  • State Police responded to 54 incidents in Elizabeth Township in January.

State Police Lt. Daniels will present the annual report at the next supervisors meeting, Feb. 12.

  • The Brickerville Fire Company answered six calls, and the fire police responded to five incidents. The Northwest EMS medic answered 22 calls in December, for a total of 202 calls in Elizabeth Township in 2017.
  • There will be a road inspection tour on Saturday, March 3.

Community Events

  • The monthly collection of recyclables will be on Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. until noon, at the municipal building on South View Drive. The Christmas tree drop-off area will be available through the end of March.
  • Have breakfast and support the Baron Stiegel Lions Club on Sunday, March 4, at the Brickerville Fire Hall from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.
  • A mud sale to support Penryn Volunteer Fire Company and Limerock Parochial School will be held March 16 and 17. See penrynfire.com/mud-sale for more information.
  • The Brickerville Volunteer Fire Company will hold a Spring Bingo Extravaganza on Sunday afternoon, March 18, at 1:30 p.m. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the kitchen will be open as well. Reserve your space by calling 717-371-3162. The fire company sponsors bingo every Tuesday evening at 7 at the fire hall, 10 Hopeland Road.
  • Earth Day will be observed at Elizabeth Township Park on Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Volunteers will help with general park clean-up, mulching and more. Call 717-824-5769 by April 14 for more information.

Melinda S. Elmer is a freelance reporter who covers the Elizabeth Township municipal beat for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback and story tips at elmermm@dejazzd.com.


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