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When you support your local fire department's fundraising activities, It's so much more than just a soup supper or a pancake breakfast. If you have a fire, you call 911 and the calvary shows up in the form of the local fire department. The department puts the fire out and you thank them profusely. The department returns to the station, takes care of all of the gear and sets everything up for their next call.

End of story, right? Not so fast.

Probably a few months ago now, our area fire department came to the city council meeting and spoke with the council and in the course of the conversation they mentioned the cost to replace or upgrade some of their equipment. And I remember being shocked at the cost to do that.

I'd never thought about how much the protective gear cost (roughly $3,000 per firefighter) and how it needs to be replaced (every 10 years). With the cost of everything going up, those will be more expensive the next time they need to be replaced. Nor did I think about the air tanks that they use, and how they work. Each tank must be checked every year and tested every five years. The five year test has to be done by someone else, it's not something that the department can be trained to do, so there's the expense of that. Each tank costs from $1-1,500 to replace and has to be replaced every 15 years.

Let's not even talk about how much a fire truck costs, or the hoses or the oil changes, or diesel or gasoline the trucks take, or the tires on the trucks...

Dean Vrba the fire chief of the Mt. Auburn - Cedar Fire Department said that their department has three vehicles. They have their "Quick Attack" which carries their jaws of life, EMS equipment and equipment to put out a grass fire. Then they have a pumper and tanker which carries water to the sites. With a lot of rural areas that don't have a fire hydrant these trucks are necessary for every department around.

Every local fireman is a volunteer. There isn't a paycheck that goes along with all of the work that they do.

So the next time you see a fundraising event for the fire department, attend and drop some money in their boot or cash box . Then take a moment to thank them for being on the end of the phone when you desperately need their help.

These men and their families represent the best in our communities. Not only do they volunteer to rescue us and our property, they volunteer to raise money to be able to do that.

Thank you to ALL of the area fire departments who respond to accidents, fires, rescues and any kind of emergency that arises.

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