Fire departments in my community are voluntary, which means our firefighters are all volunteers, who put their lives in danger to help their community, family, and friends out of the goodness of their hearts. Our volunteer Fire Departments in Edmonson County have out of date equipment and gear. Thus, puts their volunteers in even more danger since they don’t get the funding they need for the new and updated equipment and gear that they need. Volunteer Fire Departments in Edmonson County need funding for new and updated equipment and gear.
Volunteer firefighters put their lives in danger for their community. Jr. Chalybeate volunteer firefighter, Nicholas Pearson says: “Local firemen have to be ready to kiss their families goodbye and leave the house at the drop of a tone, no matter the time of day or what they’re doing. Not knowing what they will be going into or knowing whether or not they’ll make it back home that night, and with them having out of date equipment and gear makes it even worse. With that said, out of date equipment and gear can be replaced with more funding and can make a fireman’s job less dangerous than it has to be and can even prevent a firefighters death.”
Without the funding for new equipment and gear, a lot of volunteer fire departments have decided to drop the Jr. firefighter program. The Jr. firefighter program is a program designed to train 15-17 year olds in learning to become a fireman through restricted hands on experiences and going on runs with being pre trained to help and being certified when they turn 18. This program means alot to the teenagers that is in it.
One junior firefighter at chalybeate volunteer fire department says: “The Junior firefighter program means alot to me. It’s the older firemen passing their knowledge on firefighting and their experience down to the junior firefighters keeping the tradition of volunteer firefighters going. The knowledge and experience they pass down to us will help us save lives and protect our own and even our firefighter brother’s lives. The program is basically older firemen raising a new generation of first responders and growing the department, it allows us (Jr. firemen) to be certified and ready to respond just like the normal volunteers by the time we turn 18.”
According to IAFC.org (International Association Fire Chief) firefighting equipment on average cost $9,410 in total which includes: helmet, nomad hood, goggles, breathing apparatus with one spare bottle, jacket/pants combo, small flashlight, fire gloves, extrication gloves, and boots. The breathing apparatus with one spare bottle cost $6,500 itself. There is also other equipment that’s not included in the $9,410. They also have to have a handheld radio which on average cost around $5,400.
The cost to train and equip a firefighter can exceed up to $20,000. Firefighting equipment can be quite pricey. Equipment can range in cost depending on the features and specifications. The pumper truck can cost $150,000-$400,000 and the ladder truck can cost $400,000-$750,000.
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) specifies that the firefighter protective ensemble components must be retired from service no more than 10 years from the date the ensemble or ensemble component was manufactured the date it was manufactured, not the date it was placed in service.
The volunteer fire departments in my community have equipment and gear that is at least 20 years old and cant get up to date equipment and gear without funding. The Chalybeate Volunteer Fire Department volunteers have to take their gear home to clean it because they don’t have a washing machine or dryer, and unless they get permission from their fire chief to take them home to wash them they are stuck with dirty and stinky turn-out gear