WACO, TX (FOX 44) — Several Central Texas volunteer fire departments are asking for your help in Daniel Stark’s Jaws of Life competition to promote safety and security in our communities.
The competition requires your vote for one volunteer fire department to receive $5,000.
This money will support new items each department is trying to purchase.
Competitors include Southwest Bell County Volunteer Fire Department, Elk Volunteer Fire Department, China Spring Volunteer Fire Department, and Brazos County District II Volunteer Fire Department.
“Any time you have a department within your district that says volunteer there’s a good chance that department is not taxpayers,” said Steven Cornelius, Southwest Bell County Volunteer Fire Department Captain. “By not being taxpayers, they don’t receive anything typically from the county at a substantial rate.”
Cornelius says 60-70 percent of their budget relies on donations.
They cover 98 square miles in extreme terrain where children retreats are located.
The department wants to use the grant to purchase ATV’s.
“If a child was to get lost or get injured on some sort of activity they were doing out there than a typical pickup truck, we’ve had a hard time getting to people with a pickup truck,” said Cornelius. “The ATV’s are not as wide. They’re more agile and get us to where we need to be.”
Elk Volunteer Fire Department captain Robert Leathers says they’d use the grant for new bunker gear.
They’ve been using gear donated from A&M Forest Services for the last 10 years
“It’ll allow them easier flexibility because when you’re in turnout gear, you have to have the ability to still bend down, crawl, make stretches and stuff,” said Leathers. “When you have gear that’s not properly fit, fitted for you, it can interfere with your ability to do that.”
In China Spring, volunteer fire department chief Andrew Owens wants to use the grant to update it’s communication system.
“McLennan County is looking at changing over from their current radio system to 800 mghz,” said Owens. “Those radios alone, just for the trucks are averaging $3,000 a piece and we have 11 apparatuses, so that’s another 30,000 right there.”
The update adds efficiency for fire departments to communicate and collaborate.
When voting you can send personal donations to the department of your choosing.
You can vote by clicking here.
The last day to vote is October 28.