Submitted by DAVID przybysz, Deputy Chief

Happy Spring!

While many are disappointed that our winter wasn’t very white, others are rejoicing that their snow shovels were barely used! A sure sign of Spring for us is the preparation work that goes into sending out our fund drive mailer!

Our first fund drive letter has been sent out and if you haven’t already, you should be receiving it shortly.

Have you ever taken the time to read it? This letter explains why we are always soliciting for donations and what it costs to run a volunteer fire department. It’s not just about being a firefighter. While that is our main function, there is so much that needs to happen behind the scenes. Grants and other funding are available to us through the state and the municipality to cover a lot of the expenses that we incur but, they often don’t cover everything. We rely heavily on grants for larger purchases but, grants are not guaranteed money. Even when grants are utilized, there are additional costs to maintain our equipment.

Let’s look at our turn out gear for example. Just the coat and pants that we wear cost nearly $5000 per firefighter. That doesn’t include the helmet thats around $400, the boots for $300, the gloves for $80, and the fire resistant hood at $100. The Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and mask that we use during fires and hazmat situations cost just as much as our gear! The initial cost is often covered by grants however, that is only part of the story. Everything needs maintained properly to ensure its safety and to prolong its usefulness. That means that our gear needs to be cleaned after every use!

In a structure fire, there are many different chemicals that the gear gets exposed to depending on what’s burning. To release the chemicals and carcinogens that are absorbed into our gear, it must be washed in a way that maintains the integrity of the material while releasing the foreign particles that are in the soot and smoke. Gear extractors are industrial designed washing machines that utilize special soaps that are formulate to do just that. The average cost for a gear extractor is nearly $5,000 and the annual cost for the cleansing agents are about $350. A gear dryer, which is a special cabinet designed with specific air flow to help dry our gear quickly, can cost anywhere from $8000 to well over $12,000!

As you can see, the costs add up quickly. We haven’t even discussed other maintenance things such as replacement hose, tires, fuel, oil, chainsaw chains, batteries, medical gloves and other disposable items. And then there is housekeeping costs. Bathroom cleaners, toilet paper and paper towels, light bulbs and office supplies.

If you run a household budget, we don’t need to tell you what these things cost. Of, course most of your households don’t have 30 members! You can now see why your contributions are so important. Without you, the fire department simply couldn’t exist. You read in the news all the time about the need for volunteers. More and more stations are closing or combining. Many volunteer stations have had to give up some long standing fundraisers such as fish fries, breakfasts, chicken dinners and others because the combination of declining membership rolls, training obligations and simply life itself doesn’t allow for enough time to contribute in all aspects. There just simply isn’t enough time in the day for one member to do it all! Imagine if every volunteer fire department had as many social members to help with maintenance and fundraising as they do active members that train and respond as firefighters! Even strong departments like ours are constantly looking for help anywhere we can find it. Training requirements can be strenuous and time consuming but we still need members that want to be firefighters.

We also need people that are willing to be medical responders. We need people that want to direct traffic. There is also a need for members that would like to help with our fundraisers, Christmas parties and picnics and other social events.

We could even use someone to help clean and maintain the trucks, equipment and station. These are all things that our firefighters do in addition to trainings and call responses. Our social membership helps take away some of that burden.

The fact is, we need you!

It goes without saying that being a firefighter is not for everyone. We understand that. If you think the fire department is a way in which you would like to serve your community. If you have a skill set that you think might be beneficial to us, please stop by the station on a Tuesday evening or go to our web site at and fill out an application.

We’d be glad to talk to you!

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