Fighting Fires Without Funding - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/9/05

Fighting Fires Without Funding

Some rural West Texas volunteer fire departments are using 28-year-old equipment to fight fires. They're concerned of a breakdown. On Monday, the New Deal Fire Department had to borrow money from Lubbock County to buy a first responder vehicle to make sure their community is safe.

The department still has its original pumper truck since it opened in 1977. The New Deal Fire Department has waited three years to qualify for federal grant money so they can finally retire the old truck and get a new one.

This is just one of many ways this department gets their money to operate as a functional fire department.

New Deal firefighter Chris Crowley loves his job as a volunteer firefighter. But doing the job with old equipment makes it tough. "Financially, it's really hard because we're on a tight budget," he said.

New Deal receives $23,000 from Lubbock County each year. Chris says that's just enough money to maintain their vehicles. Other things like bunker gear is paid through federal grant money and sometimes they have to wait years for that money. "These (referring to bunker jackets) are original equipment probably from 1977 when the fire department started," said Crowley.

New Deal took out a loan to buy what Chris says is the newest vehicle since the department started nearly 30 years ago. The back of it was home built by a couple of the New Deal firefighters. Chris says by building their own truck. He says they saved the department close to $30,000 in cost. "You get the blue print get a bunch of heads together of people that know what they're doing and just start working," said Chris.

Lubbock County loaned New Deal $8,500 to buy a first responder vehicle. It will replace an old 1984 Ford Van that Chris says could breakdown on the side of the road at any moment.

Making a Kit for an Emergency Situation
When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.
 

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