MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – A Marshall County volunteer fire department is turning to the voters to get more funding.
The equipment at Ruth Volunteer Fire Department just outside of Arab is either lacking or non-existent.
“Engine one that we use for our fire calls was built in 1987 and it is a good working truck, but it currently needs a number of repairs to make it pass an actual pump test and actually be up to the standard it should be. Our fill station for our air tanks is in need of service. We have absolutely no way of extricating a patient. We’ve been relying on Arab,” said Chief Joshua Ballew.
Quality equipment for firefighters can be a life saver.
“If the engine fails, someone dies. Losing water in the middle of a fire, someone may not come home that night. We want to have even just equipment up to standards so that we will have people that are willing to volunteer and help, they know that they can rely on what they’re given to work with,” explained Ballew.
The Ruth VFD runs on a budget of around $8,000, but firefighters said it’s just not enough anymore.
They are asking voters in its district to check ‘yes’ next to a local referendum raising their property taxes by $5 a month to help them afford better-working vehicles, equipment, insurances, and even training.
“We hate to ask the community for this. We really didn’t. We tried to avoid it, but it’s come to the point where we are left with very little options,” said Ballew.
It is something one man who lives in the district is supportive of.
“You’d probably save more on your home insurance a year than you would to pay for better service on the fire department,” said David Carraway.
Carraway told News 19 that firefighters should have gear that meets normal standards so they can better protect the community.
“They’re going to a fire, they need everything to work and their maintenance kept up so they can get to where they’re going. And if you get in a wreck or an emergency, they need to get there and have all the supplies and things they need,” Carraway said.