Pa. fire dept.’s social club proves to be financially successful
More than 2,000 people have paid the $25 membership fee to be part of the Edinboro Volunteer Fire Department’s club launched to help fund operations
By EMS1 Staff
EDINBORO, Pa. — A fire department’s social club launched to help fund operations has proven to be successful in the nearly two months it has been open.
GoErie.com reported that Edinboro Volunteer Fire Department opened Engine House 39 on April 20, which is decked out with beer taps connected to a fire hydrant and fire helmets, and offers food such as a smokehouse burger and fire truck fries.
The club was created thanks to the dreams of several firefighters who began discussing the concept more than a decade ago as a way to help fund the volunteer fire and EMS department.
Since it was created, more than 2,000 people in the community have paid the $25 annual membership fee to hang out there.
Engine House 39 is Open! It’s a social club, so you have to join..... pic.twitter.com/R6RNnzwEMq— Kim Kennedy (@MissKim007) April 21, 2018
“It couldn’t be better. We’ve been absolutely ecstatic,” department president Daryl Parker said. “As an entire department we really had high hopes and high expectations for what we would see in terms of membership growth, and I think we’ve exceeded those. The support of the community has been absolutely phenomenal, and we just absolutely appreciate that from them.”
The idea came about as a way to raise money for the department in a time when EMS reimbursement has decreased.
“It used to be one of the major funding sources for the fire department that’s now going away,” Parker said. “So the question becomes how to get more money. Chicken dinners just can’t raise the amount of money that we need in order to make the fire department sustainable and do the things we need to have and do on a daily basis. So we began looking very seriously at the social club concept.”
Parker said the total investment was “just shy of a $1 million,” but community suppliers and builders donated their time to keep the cost low.
“So a lot of cost savings that we were able to develop through the project allowed us to get such an amazing end product at a much lower cost,” he said.
Parker said the department hopes to use the club’s proceeds for capital expenses such as turnout gear and a new fire engine.
“Chicken dinners, all respect to that system. It worked for a long time,” he said. “But nowadays, it just doesn’t work the way it used to work. This venture has proven to work quite well.”