The Forks Fire Department answered about 11 percent more calls in 2011 than the year before, according to a report recently made to the Board of Supervisors.
Fire Chief Chuck Chapman said his all-volunteer fire department handled 429 calls last year as opposed to 388 calls in 2010.
Of those calls, 37 were in Stockertown. Forks is contracted to handle calls in the neighboring town.
Chapman stated in his 2011 Year in Review report that 4,500 manpower hours went toward incidents and 9,000 to activities in the past year. The department also provides mutual aid to other fire departments in the region, including last summer's Palmer Plastics fire and another in Plainfield.
"We all have to help each other out, especially during the day," Chapman said. "We have a great working relationship with other departments."
Chapman said the fire department is very strong in community outreach, working with schools, Boy Scouts, churches, the YMCA, and businesses on fire prevention. It also passes out candy on Halloween, holds an open house on Forks Township Community Days and has firefighters dress up as Santa Claus around Christmas.
"They do a fantastic job," Supervisor David Billings said. "I saw that firsthand with how they handled Tropical Storm Irene."
The department has 60 active members, seven officers, a fire marshall, two fire police and 10 junior firefighters, who are between the ages of 14 and 17.
"We've had very good success with the junior firefighter program," said Chapman, whose son is in the program.
Township supervisors say they may start a program where they give a certificate to someone who graduates from the junior firefighters program and from fire school. Chapman said four people are in the fire school now being trained as firefighters. They must undergo 140 hours to get their volunteer training certification.
"I find it very interesting that people don't know much about us," Chapman said. "We have very good equipment and facilities and a great training facility. It helps us retain and recruit good members."