Randolph County’s volunteer firefighters are now better equipped to train for fire emergencies, thanks to a donation of equipment from Chambers County.
On Wednesday, December 28, the Randolph County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments accepted delivery of an Engine/Pumper from Chief Stan Taylor, Huguley FD (Chambers County). The apparatus will be used in training volunteer fire fighters and as a potential spare should any of our member departments need a replacement due to unscheduled maintenance of their primary pumper.
As volunteers continue to age and retire, there is an increased need to provide initial qualification and continuation training to their replacements, and this machine will be used to facilitate that necessary training.
“As part of this requirement, we know we need to produce more instructors,” said JJ Wendling, former President of the Randolph County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments. “We recently completed a Firefighter 160 course, Firefighter II, and are scheduled to start a Fire Instructor I course in January 2023. Additionally, we recently worked with our County Commissioners to deed a 7-acre section of land for the design and development of a centrally located Fire Training Center.”
The concept includes a shared area with the Randolph County Rescue Squad, classroom/meeting building, as well as a field training area to include a Class-A burn facility. This will enable the county to conduct firefighter training locally without having to travel outside our county.
Joe Craft, the Fire Association’s Training Officer, said the donated apparatus would be central to our ability to conduct on-site training without having to borrow an engine/pumper from a nearby department, who would lose the capability this apparatus brings to their fire district while training is ongoing. Additionally, the donated engine/pumper would also be vital to our county’s fire suppression capability as an operational “spare” should any of our departments need a temporary replacement while their apparatus is being repaired.
Wendling stated this new addition will not only help with our training needs, but will pay dividends in our ability to recruit new volunteer firefighters by being able to train them locally. A special thank you to Chief Stan Taylor, Huguley FD, and their members who made this donation possible. May your generous donation be the start of great things to come for our Randolph County first responders.
Calendar year 2022 was a busy year. The 18 volunteer departments within the county responded to over 2,500 calls ranging from fully involved structure fires, to calls for a cat in a tree…yes, we still get calls for these! The over 400 volunteers within the county sacrifice their personal and family time to respond to locations to assist those having their worst day. They do this because, like you, they care about their communities and the people that live here.