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Around the firehouse

September 04, 2005|By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Making their beds, road-testing the firetrucks, cooking dinner, learning how to do their job better and teaching others about fire safety ...

Despite the name, fighting fires is not all that firefighters do.

The Hagerstown Fire Department's 63 paid firefighters and 23 active volunteers respond to about 2,000 calls a year, Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said.

The rest of their shifts they spend doing things such as installing smoke detectors in people's homes, studying and training, cleaning the firehouse, working out at headquarters, sleeping and relaxing during their down time.

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Western Enterprise Fire Company at 526 Washington Square in Hagerstown's West End has nine paid firefighters dedicated to the station, and other paid firefighters, called relief operators, who come in to cover shifts when people are off or sick, Hawbaker said.

Firefighters work 24 hours, then have 48 hours off, with three firefighters per shift at Western Enterprise, aka Engine 4.

The current station opened in 1985. There's been a firehouse there since the late 1800s, Hawbaker said. Western Enterprise is one of six firehouses in the city and has a ladder truck and engine truck.

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