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N.Y. chief to retire after 32 years with department

Glens Falls Fire Department Chief James “Jamie” Schrammel plans to work part-time until the next leader is hired


Photo/Glens Falls Firefighters IAFF Local 2230

By Caton Deuso
The Post-Star

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — With 32 years of service under his belt, Glens Falls Fire Department Chief James “Jamie” Schrammel will soon be hanging up his gear.

After joining the department in 1991, Schrammel climbed his way to the seat of chief 13 years ago and has played a large role in keeping the city safe, Mayor Bill Collins said.

“Over his 32-year career, he has worked with 93 firefighters, three secretaries, and seven mayors, countless other city officials ad employees,” Collins said at the Common Council meeting on Tuesday.

Although his official retirement date is May 6, Schrammel has agreed to remain with the department part-time until his position is filled.

Collins commended Schrammel for his work and impact on the community.

“According to chief Schrammel, the department is a brotherhood. Firefighters first and foremost are there to support one another who need it. Banding together, enabling them to perform extraordinary tasks,” the mayor said. “In his retirement letter, he said he is ‘proud to play a small part in the journey where we are today as a department is well positioned to continue to provide the same unsurpassed service it provides to our communities for the next three decades and beyond.’ I think that’s an understatement.”

Those at the meeting gave the chief a standing ovation after the mayor spoke about him.

Along with the announcement of his retirement, Schrammel gave an update on the fire department’s status. He said they are now in the process of equipping a new ambulance and will bring their advanced life support fleet to three.

“We have to get all of the lettering done on it, the equipment on it, and contact New York State Department of Health so they can come do a review and inspection of it,” he said.

With the third ambulance being introduced, Schrammel said it will be an addition that should save calls being dispatched to outside ambulance service.

“To be able to have three ambulances will be able to boost our service — not that we have to rely on mutual aid a lot for those types of calls but we could. If an advanced life support call comes in and we didn’t have an ALS crew, we’d have to rely on a volunteer ambulance to come and manage that for us,” he said.

As for services, the department is working towards training members of the squad for specific programs such as confined space rescue, swift water rescue and more.

For staffing, in partnership with Warren County Civil Service, the fire department created a firefighter trainee program. Schrammel said the department is not immune to what the rest of the country is feeling when it comes to new hires.

“Our firefighters are not only firefighters, they also have to be paramedics,” he said.

The trainee program gives the department a chance to hire firefighters or EMT’s and send them to paramedic school within three years following their hire date.

“We can onboard these people, get them trained, and at the end of the three years, they become a fully productive part of the department. It’s something that’s never really been done in the state before and other departments have now jumped on board with us by doing it,” he said.

Four vacant positions have been filled with three remaining. Retirements of older firefighters of recent years has also cleared out some program specializations.

“Some of these people were intricate parts of the technical rescue units we have. We run a swift water rescue program, trench rescue program, we have a lot of programs we have lost a lot of key people in,” he said. “Not only are we working on keeping our own people trained and make sure they receive proper refreshers, but we have to get some of the new people we’re getting in and handpick the people that are good at one of these technical disciplines.”


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