For the first time in the history of the Alert Fire Company, the Alert Junior Firefighters had the opportunity to hold their monthly meeting at the Nassau County Firefighter’s Museum in Garden City. It was also the first time the museum hosted a meeting for any junior firefighter group from Nassau County.
The 20 Alert Juniors were greeted by the museum’s education instructor Chief John Murray, who welcomed the group to the museum and, after the meeting, escorted them on a tour. One of the exhibits the Juniors visited was the 9/11 Memorial wall, where they all paid tribute to Jonathan Ielpi, a former Great Neck Alert junior firefighter, assistant chief of the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company and New York City firefighter who perished in the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center.
The Juniors posed for a photo with a 1973 Vega converted to a C truck, currently on loan from the Great Neck Alert Fire Company. Restored in 2008 to its racing days’ paint scheme, the C truck was used for drill-team racing by the Alert firefighters’ drill team.
Firematic or drill-team racing is a longstanding tradition and sporting event held between fire companies throughout New York State. Teams compete in skills such as ladder climbing, hooking up hoses and accurately hitting targets with water. Another event simulates the old-fashioned bucket brigade, where buckets filled with water must be carried up a 24-foot ladder to fill a 55-gallon drum.
The Juniors learned about the history of firefighting in Nassau County through hands-on exhibits that feature antique and contemporary fire apparatus and gear. A major goal of the museum and education center is to educate and inform the public about fire safety and fire prevention and to display the proud history of volunteer firefighting in Nassau County.
The Alert Juniors are looking forward to the possibility of holding future meetings at the museum.