For the past eight months, the Fruitland Volunteer Fire Department (FVFD) has worked with various community organizations to raise money to replace their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Now, thanks to the generosity of many organizations and of the Fruitland community, the FVFD has invested $52,000 into this new equipment.
SCBA represents some of the most vital safety equipment for a firefighter. According to Don Briggs, FVFD Fire Chief, they allow firefighters to have clean air to breathe when they enter a house fire.
When the FVFD identified replacing their SCBA as a priority for the department earlier this year, several organizations stepped up to help them. On March 6th, Bayer presented the FVFD with a $7,750 grant to help cover the cost of the purchase. Country Financial Agent Jeff Wenger of Wilton also provided the FVFD with support, giving them a $1,500 Operation Helping Heroes grant on May 7th. The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine also got behind the project, awarding the group a Muscatine Health Support Foundation grant at their Spring Granting Ceremony, also on May 7th.
Though these donations paid for a sizable portion of the FVFD’s new SCBA, it did not cover the full cost. However, through their annual allotment from the Fire District, successful soup supper and pancake breakfast fundraisers, and even donations from some of the FVFD members themselves, the department brought in enough money to purchase their new equipment.
On Tuesday, November 19th, the FVFD received their new equipment. It included six new air packs, twelve new bottles (enough to fully stock one fire truck), and fifteen masks (enough for each firefighter to have one). As an additional benefit, the new bottles, which hold the clean air the SCBA uses, have the same pressure capacity as the ones used by the Muscatine Fire Department. This allows the FVFD to more easily refill them when needed.
With the new equipment finally available to the FVFD, Briggs feels grateful. “It’s a long time coming,” he said. “We’ve used hand-me-downs for the last few years, so it’s good to finally use new ones. The firefighters deserve them.”
Looking ahead to the next few years, Briggs knows the FVFD will need to make several more upgrades to keep their firefighters, and the community, safe. He has identified replacing the eight air packs on their second firetruck and purchasing a new brush truck as their next priorities.
As the FVFD begins to budget and plan for these upgrades, Briggs encourages people in Fruitland and beyond to help support their cause. “We’d love to see more people get involved,” he shared. “We appreciate the people who make good donations because it allows us to save up for better equipment.” Specifically, Briggs invites everyone interested in supporting these important projects to attend their upcoming Soup Supper (which will take place on March 7th, 2020) as well as their Pancake Breakfast (which will kick off Fruitland Fun Day again next fall). “Our soup supper and our pancake breakfast are really our only two big fundraisers,” Briggs emphasized.