Our Departments and Their History
The Hopewell Valley – Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township, Pennington Borough and Titusville – is fortunate to be protected by volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Each department serves a geographic area within Hopewell Township, but all assist each other when a call requires it. And all need more volunteers.
Pennington Fire Company, Pennington First Aid Squad, Hopewell Fire Department & Emergency Medical Unit, Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad, and the paid responders of Hopewell Valley Emergency Services work together to ensure fire safety in Hopewell Valley.
Volunteers have been fighting fires and saving lives in Hopewell Valley for more than a century.
Pennington Fire Company has been fighting fires from its Pennington, NJ, base since it was organized by a group of town residents in 1891. On April 4, 1892, the Company purchased a Button Hand Engine. When it pulled into Pennington three weeks later, it displayed its state-of-the-art technology by streaming water over the steeple of the Presbyterian Church. Ever since, Pennington Fire Company has prided itself by having both the latest rescue and firefighting tools and best-practices training.
The Pennington First Aid Squad (PFAS) was organized by the town’s American Legion post in the summer of 1954. Previously, Pennington Borough residents relied on ambulances from Hopewell and Titusville. Pennington residents were convinced they needed an ambulance of their own after surveys conducted by Charles Bell, who became the first squad captain, showed that Hopewell and Titusville residents were too often without ambulance service because their ambulances were in Pennington. Additional research showed response times would also be quicker if Pennington had its own rescue squad.
Today, PFAS serves about 20,000 people and its emergency medical technicians (EMTs) answer about 1,100 calls for help a year. PFAS is a Basic Life Support (BLS) organization. When Advanced Life Support (ALS) is required – for example if a patient needs an IV immediately – assistance is provided by Capital Health System. PFAS also partners with career staff from Hopewell Valley Emergency Services, works closely with other Hopewell Valley fire and EMS agencies, and provides mutual aid support for other nearby communities.
In spring 1911, after a series of four fires in five days underscored the inadequate in Hopewell, a group of concerned citizens organized a new volunteer company, and the Hopewell Fire Department was born.
The Department moved to its current location in 1941, the same year a First Aid Unit was formed. Junior firefighters were added in 1943, and the First Aid Rescue Squad, the forerunner of the Emergency Medical Unit, elected its own officers in 1951.
Today, the fire department and EMU respond to about 600 calls per year, with about half requiring the fire department and half the EMU, which responds to motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, medical emergencies and carbon monoxide incidents.
Concerned residents of Titusville and Washington Crossing, N.J., established Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad in January 1920. In addition to typical medical and fire assistance, the Delaware Riverfront company and squad also provide water rescue.
Through sustained training, progressive education and constant diligence, the Union Fire Company provides the highest level of service to its community. Union Fire Company apparatus includes a rescue engine, a Telesquirt, a tanker, a brush truck, a utility, and an array of rescue boats for marine operations.
The Union Fire Company Rescue Squad responds to all medical emergencies in Hopewell Township and provides mutual aid to surrounding communities. The rescue squad has two modern ambulances, each of which can transport two patients simultaneously.
Together, Union Fire & Rescue responds to about 350 calls each year. Volunteer efforts are supplemented by a Hopewell Valley Emergency Services paid ambulance on weekdays.
Hopewell Valley Emergency Services
Hopewell Valley Emergency Services was formed in 1998 to offer support to the volunteer departments during daytime hours. The employees are all highly trained firefighters and emergency medical technicians, who staff an ambulance and fire truck during the day, and also perform fire inspections and enforce the Uniform Fire Code throughout Hopewell Township. All of the uniformed employees are former volunteers who have turned their passion into a profession. Many have volunteered with departments in Hopewell Valley. Hopewell Valley Emergency Services strives to support the volunteer departments, foster a successful working relationship among the volunteers and career staff, and act as a model for other volunteer/career organizations.