Volunteer fire departments in the county say their equipment is outdated and many of them are under-funded by about fifty-thousand dollars per department.
A once a year fire fee would rake in over a million dollars for the ten volunteer fire departments in Wood County.
The need for more funding comes with an increase in equipment costs, fire trucks cost nearly four times more than they did twenty years ago. And with aging trucks volunteer fire fighters say money needs to be addressed.
Tthree of our primary engines are over twenty years old. yet all engines still function appropriately, pass pump tests and stuff but the maintenance costs escalate every year on older equipment,” said Assistant Chief of the Waverly Volunteer Fire Department, Michael Tanner.
Every year the equipment has to pass an inspection in order to be certified, but firefighters say it’s the individual parts that are the most costly.
“if you have firemen doing interior, interior suppression on a working structure fire, and the engine that they’re working off of is 25 or 30 years old, it is way more possible that a, equipment or a valve can malfunction in that age of an apparatus versus something that’s new or has all the recent technologies,” said Kim Marshall, the Chief of the Deerwalk Volunteer Fire Department.
The trucks aren’t the only concern. “PPE,” or personal protection equipment, costs over two-thousand dollars per fire fighter and expires about every ten years.
“On average just in the coat or pants, 2,200 dollars. The critical point is the coats and the pants. They have a shelf life from, of ten years. This gear is now, it’s eight years old so it has two years left and then it will all have to be replaced,” said K.C. Linder, the Chief of the Washington Bottom Volunteer Fire Department.
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