What's The Future For Volunteer Fire Departments?

What's The Future For Volunteer Fire Departments?

Volunteer fire departments are constantly working to raise money to keep their department the best they can be, but the Lake Arrowhead VFD is one of many worried that the U.S. Department of Defense grant program will cut back their funding for new fire trucks. It's already being done in Oklahoma.

To make matters worse, 25 years ago the Environmental Protection Agency made an agreement that surplus military vehicles needed to meet EPA emissions standards.

The agreement is now causing these vehicles to be destroyed instead of being donated to volunteer fire departments.

Mike Hall, Chief for the Lake Arrowhead VFD is worried the DOD's lack of a grant program and the EPA's emission standards will take away any future his fire department may have.

"It affects everything the fire department does," said Hall. "We do medical and all. If you don't have a fire department then you lose all your first responders."

Many volunteer fire departments rely on grant money to pay for new parts or even a new truck, which can cost more than a $100,000.

Without this help from the DOD, Hall says he isn't left with much of an option.

"We start begging and borrowing even more than what we already do," said Hall. "Right now that's how we survive."

Lake Arrowhead's VFD receives almost 125 emergency calls a year.

"Without this public service people will lose their homes," said Hall.

We reached out to other VFD's in Texoma and not all of them feel this way.

For example, the Jolly VFD recently applied for a grant and believes they'll get some, if not all of the money requested in the application.

Brody Carter, Newschannel 6