Message From The Fire Chief
History of the Hampton Fire Department
A tradition of service, courage and pride
Courtesy of Atlantic News & AdvertiserJanuary 10, 1984
- SECTION 1 -
To the Citizens of the Town of Hampton,
Before arriving in Hampton in June 1982 to take responsibility as Fire Chief, I had spent seventeen years with the Salem, New Hampshire Fire Department. My work as a firefighter in Salem began in 1966 with the assignment as a permanent firefighter. After four years I became Lt. Inspector of Fire Prevention for seven years. Then there were three years each as Deputy Chief and Chief.
I chose to work a smaller department with a hands-on approach. Hampton is a community that offers a challenge because of the proximity of buildings and increased summer population. I have more of an opportunity to go to a fire than I did in Salem, thus enabling me to work closer to and with the men. Hampton is a challenge as far as fire potential. It is still listed as one of the four original conflagration areas of New England. Of the four, only two remain; Hampton, New Hampshire, and Old Orchard Beach, Maine, while Chelsea, Massachusetts and Weirs, Alton Bay, New Hampshire are no longer considered for potential conflagrations.
When I arrived in Hampton, I studied the fire department making comparisons to other communities of its size and found Hampton Fire Department to be one of the best trained departments with some of the best equipment around.
The men have built a good department with professional qualities. They are a highly proud "bunch" steeped in tradition from the newest call firefighter to the most senior firefighter and fire officer. Everyone pitches in and does his part. There is more dedication and pride in their work and they are willing to give more of themselves in every aspect of the job. The department is second to none in training and skills from firefighting to emergency medical technology; they can do it all. Unlike any department with changing times, the men of Hampton will receive and constantly keep abreast of the changes that face them. They will continue to receive more training in firefighting techniques as well as the medical training, all of which is constantly changing. As times change apparatus may change. Since Hampton is a community of modern times, I feel it will also change with the times. The current needs of the department as far as manning and equipment will remain in status for at least another year, but with the increase in industry and residential dwellings on the steady incline, I see a need for some day perhaps another station in the west end of Hampton and perhaps more manpower. Also, I see the need for more men at the Beach station with the increase of winter population. I also see a central or perhaps a regional dispatch center for the Hampton area. There will always be a need for permanent and call firefighters for Hampton, as I alluded to earlier. Hampton is growing. Using our latest figures from 1973 to 1983 our ambulance and fire calls increase at the average rate of 150 calls per year. Couple this with more industry, there will be more demands made on the fire service. As it is now, a firefighter's day is just about totally occupied with work around the station, apparatus, training in fire suppression and EMT work. This was not so ten years ago. For example, ten years ago there were very few if any EMT'S. There were few fires involving hazardous materials, plastics. They just did not exist. The modern firefighter has to be highly intelligent, motivated, and have lots of compassion; he must know technology. He must have an understanding of modern construction the path of fire travel, the conditions for building collapse. He must understand the varieties of fire that exist; chemical, electric, and their extinguishment. The modern trend of New Hampshire is that once firefighters have been certified through three levels of firefighting and fire officer training, the EMT's become full paramedics. This I see becoming a reality within the decade. Overall, I see the Hampton Fire Department as being one of the best trained, best equipped departments in the New England area, with a high regard for professionalism keeping them right at the top. The forming of this pamphlet of information is just one example of their concern and self pride. The citizens of Hampton can be proud of their department; I know I am.
Anthony H. Kuncho
Hampton Fire Chief