Community fundraisers helps provide new equipment for Roan Mountain fire department

Published 9:56 am Friday, April 17, 2015

The Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department now has new turnout gear thanks to a community-wide effort to help fund the department’s needs.

The Roan Mountian Citizens Club led the fundraising campaign and raised $35,066 for the Volunteer Fire Department. The department was able to use the money to purchase a new set of turnout gear for each of the 18 volunteer fire fighters in the department. 

“The Citizens Club did this for us,” Jonathan Powell, RMVFD member said. “They collected donations and they held a community-wide yard sale.”

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The efforts for the fire department were one of the biggest focuses of the Citizen Club this year, President Jo Buchanan said.

“They had not had new turnout gear for 17 years,” Buchanan said. “It was just not safe for them to keep using it. When we realized they needed that equipment so badly, we set out to help, but it was the community that made it possible. The community was so generous with their donations to the yard sale and with their purchases. They made it happen.”

The turnout gear includes the fire-resistant coat, pants, boots and helmet that each firefighter wears when going out to house fires, car accidents and other community emergencies. The gear traditionally has a life span of 10 years before it needs to be replaced, Powell said.

“This new equipment gets us up to the standards that are required by the National Fire Protection Association,” he said. “These standards are where they would like for us to be at to comply with the federal mandates.”

The community support for the RMVFD was critical in helping the group purchase the new equipment they have to have to do their jobs safely and correctly.

“There’s no way that we could have bought this gear without the community’s help,” Powell said. “Even with the county funding and the fundraisers that we do, after we pay our operating expenses and insurance, we have no funding left to get the things we need like this gear.”