VFD Drought Challenges

VFD Drought Challenges

Texoma Volunteer Fire Departments are having to change the way they battle fires, in an effort to conserve water.

Asst. Fire Chief for the Kickapoo VFD James Mellard said volunteers are relying on hand tools like axes and shovels, instead of the water hose. When using the hose, firefighters utilize the adjustable nozzle to control how much water comes out and the area it covers.

"If you've got a dead stream, then you're only applying to a very small space, whereas if you can spread it out into a cone, you can hit a larger area and you can do a quicker mop up and shut it off," said Mellard.

The drought has impacted training the most at the Lake Kickapoo VFD, since the Department is no longer using water in any training exercises. That means, the two new volunteers will not handle water until their first time fighting a fire. "We went out on a fire yesterday, just south of the lake here, and one of those firefighters got his first opportunity out on the truck," said Mellard.

Mellard said new firefighters are always assisted by experienced personnel on their first time out. He said the drought has not created a safety concern, but requires more training in order to compensate.

The VFD is not required to conserve water, but Mellard said the Department decided on its own to help in t he efforts. "It's just general concern for the community," said Mellard. "I mean, overall everybody is suffering. The water that comes out of the lake here feeds Wichita and everybody's on restriction there, there's no reason we shouldn't be self-restricting here."

Christina Myers