I'm on the board of our local rural volunteer fire department. It's a small department (in terms of number of vehicles and volunteers) that covers a large area here in southern Arizona. This little department does a lot with very little.
Think about 35 square miles. 25 volunteers. With jobs.
When we put pencil to paper, we figured out that it costs us about $50-60,000 each year to operate. That includes radios, lights, training for our volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel, vehicle repair and maintenance (all of our vehicles were well used by someone else before they came to us), insurance, medical and firefighting equipment, fuel, firefighting clothing, helmets, masks, gloves, boots. You get the idea. The list goes on and on. Things wear out. They break.
Batteries need to be replaced. Think about radios and flashlights. We know batteries are not cheap. And it seems like a small thing. But we all know that every little bit helps. Each dollar that we save on batteries can go to another project--like finishing our station building or replacing helmets or medical supplies.
We get funds from various locations. We have a core of reliable subscribers--property owners who pay a fee on a regular basis for "free" firefighting and emergency medical calls. Non-subscribers still get excellent response from our fire department, but they also get a bill later.
We get excellent major support from The White Elephant, a high quality thrift shop in our area, that has an eBay store.
Some generous donors help us out when they can. A couple of fundraiser volunteers work regularly at a local farmer's market and nearby stores to solicit donations from area residents and visitors. We apply for grants and sometimes our department is selected for grant monies which are usually required to be spent on certain items such as turnouts (fire jacket and pants) or other equipment.
Duracell, the battery company, is running a promotion to support volunteer fire departments. It's called "Power Those Who Protect Us." When you buy specially marked Duracell battery packs (10 and 20 packs), Duracell makes a battery donation to the volunteer fire department that you designate at their website, using the code from the specially marked pack of batteries. If you don't want to buy batteries, Duracell has a link for you to make a direct donation, too.
Here's how to find the code: When you get your "firefighter" batteries, open the pack. Inside is a little strip of paper with a loonngg code of letters and numbers. Then you enter the zip code for the fire department that you want to support. I'd be honored if you would support our Helmet Peak Volunteer Fire Department and that zip code is 85629.
We thank Duracell for featuring and supporting volunteer fire departments. Volunteer departments are made up of "regular" people who give their time and energy on a ongoing basis. They go to weekly training. They keep the vehicles running. They respond to all kinds of calls at all hours--fires, medical calls, and automobile calls. Most of these volunteers have a full-time job, too.
I'm not a firefighter or an emergency responder. I'm too wimpy for that.
I serve on the board of the Helmet Peak Volunteer Fire Department and help where I can. The Green Valley News, a newspaper in a nearby town wrote an article about our department here. This story is very typical of most rural volunteer departments. The departments need all kinds of equipment and supplies to keep the department going. Duracell is doing its part and we appreciate that. Green Valley News intern Alex Dalenberg wrote about his experience at a Saturday morning training with the Helmet Peak VFD here.
So . . . I'm asking you. Every one of us uses batteries. Go get a specially marked pack of batteries (look for the red fire department logo above). Take the code from the package and go to the website. Direct Duracell to support your own volunteer department, if you have one. Select one from the Duracell website. Or . . . I'd be pleased if you wrote in Helmet Peak Volunteer Fire Department in Sahuarita, Arizona.
If you want to support a rural volunteer fire department directly, they are always looking for help. Money helps. Labor helps. Are you willing to fight fires or respond to medical emergencies? You don't need to fight fires or treat injuries or ailments. Do you know how to work on a truck engine? Do you know how to build or maintain a building? Do you have writing or fundraising skills? You'd be surprised at how happy a group of volunteers can be with even a small donation of money or time or materials. It means that we have someone at our back. Just like our firefighters know they have other trained volunteers ready to get them out of a tough spot.
We'd be honored if you'd think of our little department:
Helmet Peak Volunteer Fire Department
Post Office Box 758
Sahuarita, Arizona 85629
|Our fire chief's pride and joy. This truck came from New York to Arizona. It was donated by area resident Wally Karnas.|