Stillwater Fire District

Stillwater Fire District - Arvin Hart Fire Company

Photos compliments of Bob Eastman owner of Ground Aerial photo services 2013




The Real Truth About Residential Sprinklers – A Firefighters Perspective

At its August 19, 2015, meeting in Albany, NY, the New York State Code Council took a step closer to adopting the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) for New York state. However, the council chose not to include the portion of the code that would have required the installation of residential fire sprinklers in newly constructed one- and two-family homes. The council opted to continue using the previous version of the code, which only requires sprinklers in wood frame residences that exceed two stories above grade.  Understand that the International Codes Council has included residential sprinklers for one and two family dwellings for the last two code cycles or six years.  We find it ironic that the New York City Council voted last week to require sprinklers in pet stores because they can’t save themselves, yet the State of New York refuses to protect children such as 2 year old Nora Lamirande the same way.  Lamirande perished in a fire in a Central New York community in a home built in 2013.

Both the home builders and realtors fought hard against the measure and spent considerable money lobbying against sprinklers.  According to the home builders association sprinklers would have been so costly they would have prevented everyone in this state from participating in the “American Dream”.  What the fire service wants is to prevent that “Dream” from going up in flames in a matter of minutes and insuring that your loved ones and pets are able to escape a tragic fire.  The actions of the Code Council devalued human life in New York State and acted on misinformation perpetrated by the home builders association, which by the way has been the same mantra used in every state they have fought the inclusion of sprinklers.  The State of California and the State of Maryland have let stand sprinklers in one and two family dwellings as well as several jurisdictions across the country.  The main argument is that sprinklers are a “mandate”, mandate becoming the dirty word.  No one wants mandates, no one wants to be mandated.  Excuse me, but all fire and building codes are mandates and they have come into existence for one reason to save lives and property, in many cases from unscrupulous builders, building owners and employers.  Some of the most famous large loss fires have resulted in sweeping changes to the fire and life safety codes.

After the mandate issue, cost is the number one complaint.  The problem is unrealistic figures are being used and there are variables involved depending on where you live.  Just recently a 15 year study released indicated that a residential sprinkler system in Scottsdale Arizona costs as little as 80 cents per square foot.  It must be remembered that a residential sprinkler is part of the plumbing system.  If planned correctly the plumbing pipes can be well planned so that there is a valve on one end and the toilet on the other with sprinkler heads in between using the same pipe of your choosing, copper, plastic or PEX.  There is no annual maintenance for residential sprinklers and they are designed so that only one or two heads operate when a fire occurs, they don’t all go off at once, like some would lead you to believe.  The choice is yours, 16 gallons per minute for a sprinkler head or 260 gallons per minute for one fire hose line; what causes more water damage?  We have also endured the litany about freezing pipes; so lets connect the dots, residential sprinklers are attachments on the plumbing system, if we install a plumbing that freezes we probably didn’t install the system properly, we need to take care not to install any plumbing lines so they don’t freeze, on one end is a valve on the other is a toilet, and in the middle are sprinkler heads, it’s just that easy.

The next misconception perpetrated by the builders is that if sprinklers are mandated, the housing market will go bust.  Well, sprinklers are required in Maryland and in this article by the Mid-Atlantic Multiple Listing Service as of March of this year, not a single word relating to the strength or weakness of the market is attributed to mandated sprinklers.  The real factors relate to the interest rates, the ease of obtaining a mortgage and everything but sprinklers. ( .  In article after article, not one mention of sprinklers were stunting the market, most of the problems are attributed to the mortgage and foreclosure debacle caused by the housing bubble, where real estate was overpriced and where the requirements for mortgages were lowered.

So to recap, the cost of residential sprinklers is being inflated, the freeze problem is exaggerated, there are no maintenance costs, the lack of fire service staffing is mitigated, property damage is reduced, insurance pay outs can be reduced, will provide you and your family additional time to escape and your “American Dream” along with all of your possessions will not be reduced to a pile of ash in a matter of minutes.  Last but not least if you are in a rural area, on a well you will have a cache of water when others don’t.  So what is the issue.  The home builders and realtors fought against the installation of smoke detectors several years ago.



Upcoming Events

Sept 12 Rock City Falls 75th Anniversary Parade
Sept 26 Newland Wood FD, 150th Year Parade and Celebration
Oct 3 FF Memorial Ringing of the Bells
Feb 2016 Hybrid Cars Joint Training


September Training Focus

The Incident Command System – Why do we need it?

ICS Command Function

ICS Establishing Command

ICS Operations Function


Regularly Scheduled Events:

Training -- Wednesday Nights beginning at 6:30 P.M. and Saturdays beginning at 8:00 A.M. with breakfast beginning at 7:30AM

Company Meetings -- 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 P.M.

Board of Fire Commissioner's Meeting -- 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 P.M.



Firefighting isn’t for everyone, volunteering is – there is more to do than what is shown here:

YouTube Volunteering Video


Download sign-up sheets and become a member!  (Click both links below and fill out)


Membership Application



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Attention District Residents: To make sure your county 911 information is correct, call Saratoga County Emergency Services at 884-4769 daily between  9 A.M. and 5 P.M.


Related Links:

Intellicast Weather Page

Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund

OFPC - Firefighting, Rescue, EMS - Training for Firefighters, Firefighter Jobs, EMS, Rescue - Extrication, HazMat, Paramedic, Tactics & More

U.S. Fire Administration

NYS Assoc. of Fire chiefs

NYS Assoc. of Fire Districts

Association of Fire Districts of the Capital Area

Saratoga Co Fire Officers

NOAA's National Weather Service

FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency


NY Alert

Wearlon Corporation

Groundaerial web site

American Airboats

Empire Chemical Sales 


Shakerley Truck Sales

Stillwater Fire District e-mail login



Additional Training Resource Links:


New Developments in Fire Service Training


Get on Board with Fire Service Updates Training


Commissioners and Officers

Board of Fire Commissioner's for 2015

Anthony Ponzillo, Chairman; Mike Handerhan, Facilities Committee; Tom Rinaldi Apparatus Committee; Nick Maciariello,  Treasurer; Bill Ritter, Apparatus Committee; Bill Doughty Facilities Committee; Barb Comitale, Secretary/Deputy Treasurer


Line Officers for 2015

Chief            -- Jamie Herrick

Deputy        -- Zach Zendran

Assistant     -- Bob Wood

Captains      -- Rick Hopeck

                     -- R J Laurenzo

                     -- Dave Dunn

Lieut.           -- Chris Stewart

                      -- Brian Sabourin

                      -- CJ Brownell


Fire Police Capt.

                      -- Bob Okosky


Fire Police Lt.

                      -- Jim Woodruff


Administrative Officers for 2015

President -- Lisa Laurenzo

V.P.            -- Nick Maciariello

Treasurer -- Jaclyn Thomas



                   -- Chris Wright


Sergeant at Arms

                   -- Bill Ritter

Trustees   -- Dave Duquette, Jason Urdang, Jeff Nyland, Ed Sabourin, and Tim Collins




Words to Reflect On

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

John F. Kennedy





We want to give a warm welcome to new member Matt Orton.  Matt comes to us with previous fire service experience and anticipate that he will be a good fit for the team.

Its been encouraging that since the first of the year we have welcomed new members; Nick Ahern, Justin Ruggiero, Vanessa Wood, Matt Orton and have welcomed back Bob Hagadorn Jr who comes back to the company as a member of the fire police squad and John Bellard who rejoined as an interior fire fighter giving us 45 active members.  Unfortunately everyone can’t respond to every alarm, so we still need members.  There is plenty to do as a volunteer including interior firefighters, exterior support firefighters and fire police.  If you are interested stop by on any Wednesday evening, Saturday mornings or email us at  Applications are on this web page, center section.

September birthday wishes go out to John Conlen, John Demers, Rick Hopeck, and Nick Maciariello.


There is no grant activity at this time.

Facility News

In an effort to reduce electrical costs the District has commissioned a survey of lighting costs in conjunction with NYSEG and Koval Electric.  In addition to replacing some of our high cost lighting we hope to obtain funding assistance with the replacement of many of our high energy use fixtures by switching over to cost effective LED lighting in many applications.


Apparatus News

In addition to normal preventative maintenance on the apparatus we have replaced an out dated and defective light bar on U-11-2 with a more effective strobe bar that was in storage.  In addition we added high visibility reflective chevrons to the rear of the unit since it is regularly used by the fire police for traffic control.

The apparatus planning committee has performed an internal needs assessment and formulated a set of specifications for a new engine tanker to replace ETA -11-1 which was purchased in 1995.  A set of performance specifications has been developed and finalized with input from members of the planning committee which included line officers and commissioners.  The committee is currently working to iron out any engineering conflicts and will be ready to make a recommendation to the Board  before year’s end.  Once the Board accepts the specifications, they will begin the legal bidding process.  The planning team will be narrowed down to a five person purchasing committee who will oversee the bidding, purchasing and construction management for the new apparatus.  It is anticipated that the new unit will be delivered in the first quarter of 2017.



The training focus for August was vehicles.  The members of the Company trained with all of the extrication tools at their disposal such as the Hurst Tools, the mini Hurst hydraulic tools, air bags, cribbing and Para Tech Struts.  The last evolutions involved car fire extinguishment training.

Four members of the fire police squad attended highway safety training conducted at the recent FASNY conference in Colonie.

This month an ICS 200 class will be conducted internally and will be the training focus for the month of September.

Commissioners Ponzillo, and Rinaldi as well as Treasurer Maciariello and Assistant Chief Wood will be attending training sessions conducted at the Fall Workshops of the Association of Fire Districts of New York State in Ellenville, New York.  Sessions include; Training for Fire District Treasurers, Fire District Policies & Procedures, disciplinary procedures, Chief Officer Leadership and Development, purchasing practices, operating your fire district like a business, a mock fire district meeting, LOSAP Audits, driver training programs, cancer in the fire service and the ever popular attorney’s panel.  Next year’s fall program will be held in Saratoga Springs.

Members have the ability to access free on-line training on the web.

To access, go online at, click on E-Learning.  The access code is on the Watch Desk Book in the radio room.

Training Resource Links:

Local Training


FireRescue 1


Firehouse Magazine


Fire Engineering


ICS Training Resources


Emergency Response Guidebook Training




Mission Statement:


  • Recruiting, cultivating, and retaining the highest quality diverse membership that remains committed to our mission and values.
  • Consistently delivering the best possible services to mitigate emergencies within our financial means and training in the safest manner possible.
  • Focusing on the safety of our members and the community before, during and after emergencies.
  • Partnering with local community, city, county, state, and federal officials and organizations in support of our vision.
  • Developing future leaders in the fire protection and emergency management community worldwide.
  • Encouraging innovative, forward-thinking strategies to reach our vision.