Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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February 27, 2014

Fire Department Sales Tax benefits Elmore City — A 2012 approval of a one quarter cent sales tax has benefited many of Garvin County fire departments.

Among the 12 covered departments, there has already been considerable improvements from the necessary supplies that help them battle blazes to the gear they wear when responding to a call. Among one of the most recent benefits is a 2014 Dodge 5500 truck for the Elmore City Fire Department, something Fire Chief Eddie Stewart was all too proud to show off recently as a sign the money is well spent.

“I’m still trying to get used to the idea that we can buy the equipment we need,” said Stewart, who dropped by the Democrat office right after he had the lettering on the truck done. “This is the fruits of that.”

The department has had what is their new brush truck, which can be operated by one person if needed since October, but only recently got the chance to rig all of the equipment they need to fight fires. Those features include a 350 gallon tank for water, a control console inside the vehicle and a spray nozzle on the front of the truck.

Elmore City isn’t alone in being able to add a vehicle and this is especially welcome as many of the smaller departments depend on a line filled with used and worn hand-me-downs. Rush Creek Volunteer Fire Department benefitted last year with the addition of a bed for a truck they were given by the forestry department and Hennepin, Katie and Lindsay departments have all been able to add something as well.

“Without this tax money, we’d still be struggling,” said Stewart. “This allows us to stretch more dollars, something we’ve been doing all along.”

Stewart pointed out how the new gear they bought with the tax money previously has ensured all their firefighters have something that is up to date versus their situation before the tax where some might not have had gear in the past. He said they still have to be careful and selective with the money that builds up, but it gives them breathing room and ensures everyone is safe as possible.

Eventually, the department would like to reduce the insurance rating for the community through the purchase of another truck. It is currently rated at level 8.

“It’s nice to not always have our hand out,” said Stewart. “Our next project after this will be a new engine to reducing insurance rating for EC.”

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