Shelton Fire Department in search of volunteers

Joey Pelaggi and Chris Costa said being a part of the Shelton Fire Department means being a part of another family. — Aaron Berkowitz photo

The Shelton Fire Department is looking for new applicants to help serve the community.

Lieutenant. Ryan Mattioli of the Huntington Fire Company said the department has positions for everyone and no experience is required, but the individual must have the desire to help the community.

“We look for individuals who are willing to learn, adapt and overcome challenges,” said Mattioli. “To use the slogan from our White Hills Fire Company, ‘Neighbors helping neighbors.’ It’s great to have eager men and women from various ages and from all aspects of personnel careers coming together when an alarm goes in to step up and help someone in our great community.”

Capt. Mike Plavcan of the Echo Hose Fire Company said the dynamics of the firehouse resemble those of a close family but that the love and respect must be earned through proven dedication to the job.

“It’s a brotherhood. Once you join, the guys will always have your back, but their respect has to be earned over time through proving that you’re dedicated,” said Plavcan. “Being compassionate to the people who could be experiencing the worst day of their life is also a huge part of this job. What may be routine for us because of training is certainly not routine to them.”

Mattioli said the firehouse dynamics are a part of what makes him love the job.

“The best part of being a volunteer firefighter for the Shelton Fire Department is the camaraderie among the members, not only in one fire company but across the whole department,” said Mattioli.

Matt Perkowski, the probationary member adviser at Echo Hose, said a good firefighter not only hones the skills the staff teaches during the 13-month probation period but also naturally possesses certain traits.

“You just can’t teach some things,” said Perkowski. “We really look for people that have that desire to help, possess a strong work ethic, and have good morals. Those people that only want to do this job to add it to their résumé come and go. They never last and have a way of weeding themselves out.

“I fell in love with this job and don’t see myself quitting until I physically can’t do it anymore, which hopefully is no time soon.”

“This job means so much to me,” said Plavcan, who has been volunteering for the past 13 years. “I love helping the community and trying to make things better. There’s no feeling like helping someone on their worst day.”

The Shelton Fire Department currently has an estimated 250 members among the city’s four firehouses.

Those interested in applying for a position in any of the firehouses will undergo a background check, followed by a formal interview, a physical test, and ultimately a vote that determines whether an applicant should be accepted as a probationary member.

Those who are interested in joining may call the city of Shelton at 203-924-1555, ext. 1515, or stop in at one of the four fire companies in town to get an application.

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