The volunteer firefighters here at Central Bell Fire & Rescue are working with sub-par outdated gear, and they need the community's help to change that.
The fire department is in a position that has left them with minimal gear that is outdated - and in some cases unsafe.
”Some of our gear, we can’t even let people go inside, but they can stay outside and fight a structure fire," said Douglas McKinney, chief of Central Bell County Fire and Rescue. "Only a few people can go inside with the gear that we have. If we have new gear for everybody, we can put that much more effort into saving property, saving lives, and so forth.”
The volunteer fire department does not receive funds like paid fire departments.
”In order to get our gear at 30 sets, which is about how many firefighters we have, it’s somewhere in the range of $70,000 to $85,000 to get 30 sets and that’s with the latest and greatest technology,” said Chief McKinney.
Seeing the need for money and gear is why local artist Rudy Calooy has decided to do what he can to help. Calooy is raising money in the form of a car show that will be part of Nolanville’s annual jamboree on Saturday.
”You know, it’s a good thing. It helps the community. This town is growing. In [the] 1960s there was 60 people here and today there is 6,000,” said Calooy.
The $20 entry fee from all the cars and bikes in the show will be going directly to the fire department, and participating is simply a mouse click away.
”They can go on the Eventbrite site and they can preregister so we can get a car count and vehicle count,” said Calooy.
Having community members step in to help out is something Central Bell Fire & Rescue relies on as a volunteer fire department.
That is where the community can help and make sure they have the gear they need to do their job well and safely.
”Not only are they helping us but they are part of the community. We actually encourage the community to come out and see us, and see what we’re working with because what we’re working with does affect them also,” said Chief McKinney.
People like Calooy are doing what they can to help raise money, but Central Bell Fire & Rescue said they need thousands more for the gear that could help save lives.