Providing better protection: Warren County’s volunteer firefighters are special civil servants

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Oak Park Subdivision area will soon be much safer.

The Fisher Ferry Volunteer Fire Department Friday broke ground for a new fire station, a move that will help the fire department better protect its district and give quicker response times to fires and first aid calls in Oak Park and other areas along Indiana Avenue that are in Fisher Ferry’s District.

And it provides these true public servants in the department something to show off their pride in their department and in their community.

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Volunteer fire departments are a special breed. They survive mainly on a combination of revenue from the special fire district millage that provides the bulk of their funding and helps keep them operating, money from their own pockets and the occasional assist from the county and from the state Insurance Department in the form of grants for equipment.

Volunteer firefighters are a group apart. Unlike their brethren in the paid departments, they get no pay for putting their lives in danger when they go into a burning house.

Like the paid firefighters, they have to go through training in all phases of firefighting and continuously keep up with changes in regulations. They not only go through fire suppression training in putting out different types of fires, they also have to learn about handling hazardous material spills, and that can mean a trip to the Jackson to the state academy at their own expense. Some of them go beyond fire training to become first responders and certified EMTs or paramedics to provide the people in their district another service they can rely on when they have a problem.

Warren County has five fire districts, all covered by volunteer fire departments and firefighters like the crews at Fisher Ferry, and it’s not unusual for two or more departments to back up and help a neighboring district during a major fire or an accident on a county road or a state highway, and all of these volunteers are willing to put their own personal safety aside to help in an emergency, whether it’s to get someone out of a heavily damaged car or enter a burning building to save someone.

The new Fisher Ferry station is a tribute to the district’s volunteer firefighters, not only for their devotion to making the residents of their district safer, but also for their financial management to be able to be good stewards of the money their friends and neighbors entrust to them through the special tax funds.

Volunteer firefighters are true unsung heroes in the county, and they need to be recognized. If you live in the county and see one of the volunteers responsible for protecting your home, go up and shake their hand and pat them on the back. They deserve it.