(OOLITIC) – The Oolitic Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1913.
Long before 911 systems or radio systems, the members called each other to alert each other of a fire and a siren on top of the fire department would sound alerting firefighters of a fire.
The members would then drive to the fire station to see if the trucks were gone and look at the chalkboard to see where the fire was located.
Around the 1970s communication equipment and the Plectron Tone system at the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department were used to notify firefighters via home alert monitors.
The Oolitic Volunteer Fire Department was the very first department to have the equipment with other volunteer fire departments following.
By the 1980s fire departments were using scanners to alert them of fires in addition to radio pagers they carried to with them that notified them of any fires or emergencies.
Volunteer fire departments do not have on-duty firefighters that stay 24 hours, seven days a week at their fire stations at this point in Lawrence County.
Like all of the other volunteer fire departments throughout Lawrence County, the Oolitic Fire Volunteer Fire Department has made equipment upgrades to its firefighting fleet.
The upgrades include two Class A engines, one tender (water carrier) a brush rig, and two rapid response vehicles. Because of these upgrades, training, 911 coverage, and communication upgrades the department has been able to reduce its fire protection rating to a six with one being the best fire rating a fire department can have, 10 being the worst rating.
This rating have been able to save residents on their insurance premium with insurance companies who recognize these fire protection ratings.
“We are currently trying to get grants for SCBA’s and a new pumper tanker which would give us a 3 Class A pumpers to enhance our ability to support Oolitic and the county,” said Ted Maze, Fire Chief Oolitic Volunteer Fire Department.
The Oolitic Volunteer Fire Department supports all Lawrence County Volunteer Fire Departments but also surrounding departments on emergency medical and fire calls.
Recently, the department took part in a hazardous materials response training to be better prepared for emergencies they do not experience on a routine basis.
The department also has vehicle extrication equipment to help remove accident victims who become trapped. This is especially needed with a busy state highway going through their jurisdiction.
Like all fire departments, they are looking for men and women who want to be part of the department. Anyone interested can contact Fire Chief Ted Maze.