The Central Hardin Fire Department has been awarded four sets of turnout gear and helmets.
According to a news release, the department is one of three chosen in North America as part of the MSA, Dupont and the National Volunteer Fire Council 2020 Globe Gear Giveaway. The others were in Warrenton, Virginia, and White River, Ontario, Canada.
Fire Chief Stephen Simpson said firefighter Amanda Medley completed the grant application. Altogether, Simpson said the overall cost of the gear is about $13,300, with a service life of 10 years, and includes helmets, jackets, pants and coats.
The department, which serves a population of around 10,000 in the county, is primarily paid for through subscription fees. Simpson said they used to send out letters to the coverage area for subscription dues, but now it’s included on property tax bills with an opt-out option.
Simpson said the department makes, on average, about 450 runs a year. In 2020, he said they had about 442 runs.
“We do get a small piece from the county, but the grander percentage of our money that we get is from the subscription base,” Simpson said.
Since this can be opted out by taxpayers, he said there have been diminishing subscription dues over the years.
For 2020, he said the department had a buying freeze and didn’t purchase anything for the department unless it was absolutely needed. In 2019, he said the department had to dip into their savings due to it being a tough year in terms of income. The department is made up entirely of volunteers.
Simpson said they currently have two fire trucks on loan, which costs about $63,000 a year.
“Our department is constantly growing in size, but our income is not,” Medley said in the release. “Receiving this gear will have a great impact on how we can better serve our community and keep the citizens and each firefighter safe.”