SIDNEY — A unique, handmade flag, created recently from old fire hoses by Sidney firefighters, is now displayed in the garage of the Sidney Fire Department.
The idea to make the flag came about after Sidney Fire Assistant Chief Eric Barhorst and Firefighter Chance Guisinger, from fire crew C, saw one online that had been made by another fire department last winter.
Sidney’s 5-foot by 8-foot flag was made using the fire department’s old red, white and blue fire hoses that failed the annual springtime hose test. The faulty hoses, unable to be used in any other city department, were cut into pieces and then screwed to a large piece of plywood. The stars are spray painted on. The American flag standard was used to help determine the flag’s dimensions, Guisinger said.
“We’ve been talking about it, and we knew we had the hose, and we got the OK (from the city) to go buy (the wood), and I started working on it,” Guisinger, who has been with the department for three and a half years, said.
“We’ve never done this before. Just saw other fire stations around that have had them,” Barhorst said when asked if they had made other flags in the past. “So, we just never had a flag up in the truck room.”
The flag, displayed in Station 1’s garage, took Guisinger, with some help from members of the C Crew, about 10 hours to assemble last month. When he and Barhorst spoke to the Sidney Daily News, they were in the process of making a second flag for Station 2.
“We had leftover hose. This is not brand new hose; this is old hose that went out of service during hose testing or due to age. After 20 years old, we take it out of service,” Barhorst said. “Every year we have to test the hoses. Just happened that this year we had some white and red and blue.”
Guisinger added, “It’ll burst during pressure tests. When it’s hose testing, it’ll burst or malfunction or has a hole.”
A lot of other fire departments they saw online painted their old hoses to make their flags appear brighter.
“We like the old, rustic look, though,” Barhorst said. “And before we forget, (Guisinger’s) wife (Olivia) printed out the stars (stencil). So please give her credit for helping.”
When completed, the flags made from about 150 feet of hose cut into three 50-foot-sections and screwed into plywood are very heavy and awkward to hang, the men said.
“It’s very heavy, so it took a whole duty crew (of 10 guys) to help hang it. About every guy on C Crew,” Guisinger said.
“But we didn’t want to start (the second flag) right afterward because it was very hot last month,” Barhorst said when explaining how difficult it was to hang the flag.
“It’s a little bit of a pride of ownership,” Barhorst continued, who has been a member of Sidney’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services since 1999. “But it was Guisinger’s idea how to do it (lay out the hose). Every fire department does it different.”
The second flag is expected to be hung soon at Fire Station 2 on South Vandemark Road.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.