HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (10/29/12) – I had the honor of talking to Chief Steve Stoltz with the Madisonville Fire Department last week. I hope to do him and the Fire Department honor on this column.
Steve lived in Hanson when he first heard the alarm. He went and checked it out, liked what he saw, and talked to his wife. This eventually led to him becoming a volunteer fireman at the Hanson Volunteer Fire Department from 1982 until 1988. Steve became chief at that Department from 1984-1988. He then moved on to Madisonville and started as a fire engineer, and then Fire Lieutenant. After that, he took the title of Fire Chief.
The Assistant Fire Chief is John Stewart. John started in 1990 as Engineer, then Lieutenant, and then to his current position as Assistant Chief in 2007.
The Chief said that to become a firefighter you have to be a caring person, level-headed, and a person that can deal with stress. The Fire Department is usually first on-scene, so you never know what you might have to do.
The Fire Engineer leads the firefighters and drives the fire truck. He has to know the streets and make sure that the pumps are ready. He has to make sure that the firefighters have what they need.
Here are some interesting facts about our local Fire Department.
Engine Company consists of one Lieutenant, one Fire Engineer and one Firefighter.
Ladder Company consists of one Captain, one Engineer and two Firefighters.
Each Shift has a Shift Commander/Battalion Chief.
There are 19 Personnel on duty per shift, and three total shifts per day.
It takes 500-800 hours per month to train.
It takes $2500.00 for one person for the turnout gear.
If you take $2500.00 and multiply that by 61, that equals $152,500.00 for turnout gear alone.
The thermal camera to find people in a household is $10,000.00 per camera.
The Madisonville Fire Department has got $1.5 Million in grants in the past 7 years for safety equipment.
There are nine recruits going to take training at Owensboro.
When asked what the most important thing you would like to see done for your Department, Chief Stoltz said he would like to replace the ladder truck at station #4, but it would take over $1 million dollars. For a new truck, it would only take $400,000.00. As much as this sounds, it is important to remember that these are the men that will come to your house when you need them and that go to the schools to teach your kids what to do in fire situations.
They also go to GE and to Land of Frost, as well as all other places in the area and know ahead of time where to turn the power off, where to approach first in case of fires, and much more.
They train day in and day out. They know exactly how to get those fires out fast.
This is why it takes someone that can handle stress to be a firefighter. They have to know what to do when they arrive, despite the severity of what they see.
In closing, remember that these men live next to some of you. They have families too. Say a prayer for each one of them when you go to bed tonight. You never know when or if it will be your home and family that they are coming to save.
God bless each firefighter.
Blue Collar Comments
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