Time and money. These are things that we all seem to lack. If one is abundant for a moment, the other is scarce. In this day and age it seems that families are cutting every penny to make ends meet. Men and women work full time and some work two jobs just to stay afloat. After making the money to pay the bills, time is spent on household duties, bonding with the kids, school activities and sports. With what time is left, some spend volunteering for local charities and community groups.
Volunteers at VRFPD are required to give up countless hours from the time they are added to the roster. These hours include basic training (145 hours), drill (every Monday night for 2.5 hours), weekend training for any outside classes, driver training (16 hours), Pumper Operator training (40 hours), First Responder training (45 hours), EMT Basic (145 hours), plus any hours spent driving out of district to attend outside training. All these, along with the requirement hours of continuing education, to remain certified.
In the past few installments of the newsletter and newspaper articles we have broached the issue of our aging fleet, which is well beyond what the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) deems appropriate. An apparatus should be moved to second position after ten years, and can be considered as a backup unit after twenty. At twenty-five it should be removed completely from service. Our first out engine is fourteen years old and our oldest responding apparatus is forty years old. It starts and runs, responds to calls and training, but is slow and only a handful of the volunteers can drive it. It requires much more work for our volunteers than an updated machine would.
One of our officers has been tasked with reevaluating our fleet and how we use it. Can we recycle and up fit what we have to better and more efficiently serve our community? What changes can we make that will save funds in the long run? We are considering all angles and have a plan in the works.
Your current tax dollars provide upkeep for the station and grounds, an office person that keeps the bills paid and accounting in check, apparatus to put fires out, control accidents and generally help people in need. The Fire Chief is tasked with making sure that apparatus respond, personnel is trained, nobody gets injured and the public gets served.
So at this time you might ask, “What does this have to do with time and money?”
We need more volunteers so we can spread the work load more evenly, freeing up more time for those that have worked themselves ragged. We need funding for apparatus upgrades to make our service to the community more efficient. We need funding to entertain the possibility of one more paid personnel, which will benefit our volunteers, our students, and most importantly, you.
It is our mission to figure out how to make this all possible and continue to grow, serve and protect.