Volunteer Fire Companies Struggle To Make Ends Meet

Volunteer Fire Companies Struggle To Make Ends Meet

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Costs to run a volunteer fire department can add up.

Rutland Fire Chief Will Kalin says his crews respond to almost 150 calls per year.

The National Fire Protection Association, NFPA, suggests that departments take a closer look at their gear.

That means things such as changing the tires, which Kalin says estimates cost around $6,000 to replace on each vehicle.

"I have seven vehicles in my fleet," he said. "That cost would add up quite quickly if I had to do them all at once."

Other standards from the NFPA include changing uniforms every 10 years.

In Rutland, it can cost $5,000 or $6,000 for firefighters to wear protective equipment.

Kalin says the volunteer department is fortunate that they operate under the Rutland Fire District, which helps pay for most of the operating costs and services."

"It takes some of the weight off of some of the members of the department to provide for themselves," Kalin said. "They are a taxing entity who can raise those funds a lot more easily than a department that has to depend on fundraising."

Although fire departments aren't required by law to follow the standards, Kalin says it's in their best interests "to help us perform our jobs and stay safe doing it."

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