LUBBOCK COUNTY, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock County fire departments are welcoming a long overdue increase in funding to keep themselves safe as they serve.
“It takes a dedicated person willing to sacrifice a bunch of their time to help other people, to put their lives at risk to come help save somebody,” Slaton Fire Department Assistant Chief Kade Kitten said.
Slaton is one of 11 departments in Lubbock County. Most of them are made up of volunteers and funded mostly by Lubbock County and their own fundraising.
County Judge Curtis Parrish told KCBD the commissioners chose to spend an additional $500,000 this fiscal year on the departments.
“We wanted to do something more for them, simply because we are a growing county,” Parrish said. “What our volunteer fire departments do for our county and providing fire protection and service, [it’s] invaluable. So, we needed to do something that would increase that, to give them better equipment, to quite honestly move them into the 21st century.”
Kitten said, because of scarce funds, equipment can sometimes age up to 20 years before it’s replaced.
“Everything wears out eventually,” Kitten said. “Bunker gear: we wear it out all the time. We go in these fires, cut it up, tear it up, and we’ve got to get that money from somewhere.”
Parrish said the current commissioners court pledges to continue the increasing support.
“This isn’t just a one year thing,” Parrish said. “We are committed to making sure that our volunteer fire departments are well funded, well trained and ready to protect the citizens of our county.”