WACO, Texas — Equipment that volunteer firefighters in Central Texas used over the summer was pushed to the max throughout the extreme drought conditions and numerous wildfires.
One Central Texas volunteer firefighter department has received some much-needed funding to get new equipment.
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation presented the Wortham Volunteer Fire Department with a grant going toward new bunker gear this week.
“All what we had is getting old falling apart," Wortham Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kelly Craig said. "The huge thing now in the fire service on protective gear is after a fire being able to wash it.”
The protective equipment must be washed after every major call to get rid of cancer-causing agents on the bunkers. The wear and tear can cost volunteer departments more than $3,600 to replace its gear.
“When the gear gets old it can’t stand up to the washes and it starts falling apart," Craig said. "So you either don’t wash it or you wash it and your gear falls apart, so it’s pretty important to us to keep our people protected.”
The foundation donated a little more than $18,000 to the volunteer fire department to replace five sets of bunkers. Other volunteer departments like Central Bell County Fire & Rescue got the same grant about 10 years ago.
Assistant Chief David Nobles said replacing gear isn’t easy — and local departments need as much help as possible.
“Step up and donate," Nobles said. "Donate more then what you think you are having to pay. If you’re giving a dollar, give two dollars."