The Rural Fire Department fund has awarded over $883,810 to rural fire departments in 18 Texas and 6 Oklahoma counties since mid-2006. The Fund’s intent is to provide funds that will secure disposable supplies, communication devices, safety equipment, fire equipment (only partial truck funding included) and miscellaneous goods for use in fire fighting and prevention in the Wichita Falls Service Area*. We have primarily focused on supplying bunker gear, matches for new trucks, and communication devices.
Why is this important? When one lives in town, we hear sirens and see fire trucks and fire hydrants. We know we can dial “911” and help is on the way. When you live in the country or in a smaller town, volunteer firemen and women are the ones answering a pager or a phone call, leaving job or home to go “voluntarily” fight a fire for a stranger or a neighbor…that makes no difference. Ever wonder where the water comes from when fires are fought in the country? There’s not a hydrant to hook up to for the water…tanker trucks and pumps that are put in a water source (tank, river or lake) aid in fighting the fires in the country.
The Rural Fire Department Fund came about in early 2006 because of the extreme fire danger we were and had experienced for several months. April 2009 we saw that same kind of fire danger. When the fires were raging in Wichita, Clay, Archer and Montague last April, towns were in jeopardy. The blowing winds of late-March 2010 are making our area again prone to wildfires. These rural fire departments are manned by volunteers. Most volunteer/rural fire departments receive none or minimal dollars from county budgets. Fish fries, bake sales, garage sales are mainstays for Rural Fire Department fundraisers. These fearless volunteers need an easier way to raise/receive money so needed by their departments. The Rural Fire Department Fund was initially populated by one donor (The Priddy Foundation) and since then Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation has continually fundraised to keep the fund able to award grants.
*Wichita Falls Service Area includes the following counties: Archer, Baylor, Childress, Clay, Cottle, Foard, Haskell, Hardeman, Jack, King, Knox, Montague, Stonewall, Throckmorton, Young, Wilbarger, Wise and Wichita Counties in Texas AND Comanche, Cotton, Jackson, Jefferson, Stephens, and Tillman, Counties in Oklahoma.
For those wishing to make a donation to the Rural Fire Department Fund—Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, you can do that online, by mail, or by phone. www.wfacf.org Donate, 940-766-0829 by phone, or 807 8th Ste 750, Wichita Falls, TX 76301.
If you live an area where you have a Rural Fire Department manned by volunteers, donate to them directly and also attend their fundraisers. They are keeping you safe. They need your help to keep their equipment and trucks ready for the next fire that strikes.