Volunteers Step Up As Leaders at NFEC


Volunteers at Norriton Fire Engine Company aren’t required to attend every drill night or go on every call; however, when volunteers show they are dedicated and take on more responsibility, it is appreciated by all. Two volunteers doing just that are Jim Fessler, who became a Lieutenant in October, and Rick Dinapoli, who was sworn in as a Fire Police Officer in September.

“I’ve been in the fire service for 17 years now,” said Fessler. “I started taking newer members under my wing because that’s what people did for me when I was coming up in the fire service.”

Fessler was taking on more and more responsibility such as mentoring newer members and was appreciative when Chief Kevin McDevitt came to him about being a Lieutenant.

Although he’s still learning, he takes orders from the Chief to maintain safety at the fire ground and enjoys teaching others. Fessler recently planned a “back to basics” drill night for newer members who are taking courses at the fire academy to earn their Firefighter I certification. New members learned how to deploy an uncharged hose line off the side of the truck and work as a team to carry the hose. After the hose line was charged, they learned the best way to handle and carry it, because it’s a very different experience when the line is charged versus uncharged.

“My father was in the fire service and he always told me ‘train your replacement,’” said Fessler. “I have a strong desire to teach people and show them the skills I know.”

Fessler describes it as a chain reaction. “If someone doesn’t know how to do something, I can show them and that person will be able to teach someone else one day.”

As the new Lieutenant, Fessler wants volunteers to still feel comfortable to come to him anytime to ask questions.

“Even though I’m in a different role, I’m still the same person that they can come and talk to,” he said.

Rick Dinapoli is another volunteer at Norriton Fire Engine Company serving in a new role. Dinapoli joined six months ago as a way to give back to the community and was sworn in as a Fire Police Officer in September.

Previously, Dinapoli served as a Fire Police Officer with other companies and is interested in serving as a Fire Police Captain or another leadership role in the future.

“I enjoy being a leader and helping to give others fire police information,” said Dinapoli.

As a Fire Police Officer, he helps with crowd control and traffic to make sure firefighters and the public are safe at emergency scenes or events.

“My job doesn’t just stop at fire police,” said Dinapoli. “I also ride the trucks and do fire ground support on the fire scene.”

Support at the scene could include hose operations, water supply and more. 

Dinapoli encourages others to volunteer and give back to their community.

“Norriton Fire Engine Company has great members. They are like a family to me, and the leadership of both men and women is great,” he said.

To learn more about the volunteer opportunities at Norriton Fire Engine Company, visit NorritonFire.org.