(HELTONVILLE) – Heltonville residents turned out Saturday afternoon to support the Pleasant Run Township Volunteer Fire Department during their regular fish fry. The fundraiser is used to help and aid in buying needed equipment.
The Pleasant Run Fire Department, established in 1961, is one of the oldest volunteer fire departments in Lawrence County. Located in the Northeast portion of Lawrence County, they continue to serve the public by fighting fires and responding to emergency medical assistance calls.
Like all other fire departments in the United States, they continue to work through the challenges. The department call volume and training requirements have increased, and the costs of operating the department continue to rise.
Equipment for firefighters now costs between $3,500-$5,000 a year. Self-contained breathing apparatuses have to be replaced every five to seven years. The department also continues to keep it’s two fire stations and fire apparatuses in good working order explaining the need for regular fundraisers.
“We have a good working relationship with our township trustee, and they try their best to make sure we have the funding we need. But the $28,000 can only keep our buildings maintained, insurance paid, and few other expenditures are taken care of. There are still other costs that we have to meet, and as well as make additional equipment purchases,” says Pleasant Run Twp. Fire Chief Cody East. “We also have a fire equipment cumulative fund which has allowed us to purchase some fire apparatuses and equipment. But with Department of Transportation inspections and meeting the National Fire Protection Associations requirements on keeping the pumps and apparatuses also adds to our costs of operations,” East added.
With all the challenges the department faces; however, the community continues to help out the department and partners with them on several projects. “From the Heltonville School, Mid-West Trail Rides, Hardin Camp, and Red Hat and Purple Chaps the department has been blessed that the community sees a need and helps us get it taken care of,” East added.
The department responded to more than 165 calls last year, and this year they are at 95 requests. The department has been assisting near-by Marshall Township as they are working through some staffing issues at this time. The department has 12 members, 7 of whom have emergency medical training.
Pleasant Run Fire Department encourages community members to get involved with the department without even having to be a firefighter or Emergency Medical Responder. There are other jobs and things community members can aid the department in such as lawn mowing, assisting with fundraisers, vehicle maintenance, and other skills or trades.
The department’s future needs include the purchase of an ATV to aid them when responding to brush fires and other emergencies that may occur in or near the forestry property within their jurisdiction.
They will also be looking at getting their fire protection rating lowered within the township.
The Heltonville area has new fire hydrants in place, dry-hydrants at two or three locations, and the Heltonville water tower that should help them get the fire protection lowered.
The next project the department will tackle is to construct a building across from their current fire station in Heltonville. This would give them more room as the fire trucks will be placed in the new building, and then allow the current fire station to be a space for community use as well as a training area for firefighters.
The next fish fry will be held on the third Saturday in August and they encourage more people to come and support their efforts.