Rescue 40 takes to the roadsPublished 7:55pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013
It averages about 100 calls a year — calls that may come in the dead of night or when least expected. To every accident or fire, the Blounts Creek Volunteer Fire Department hauled its rescue equipment by whatever means necessary, in this case an old Chevy van. That is, until PotashCorp-Aurora stepped in to help.
“They were in desperate need of a new vehicle to replace the van they had to use for emergency calls. And it was very clear in the photos and description that it was woefully inadequate,” said Ray McKeithan, manager of public affairs for PotashCorp-Aurora.
Through the company’s corporate community investment program, BCVFD’s Assistant Chief Chris Williams submitted a letter, a proposal, a two-page narrative and other forms to apply for the grant. According to Chris Williams and his brother, BCVFD Chief David Williams, the paperwork was worth it when a 2012 Ford F550 with a 12-foot rescue body pulled into the bay of the fire station. Now the dedicated rescue vehicle, Rescue 40, goes on all calls — barring brush fires — carting LED scene lights, a generator, two full sets of extrication tools, stabilization equipment, structural firefighting equipment, pneumatic tools, traffic-control equipment, firefighter-rehabilitation equipment and more.
“Everything in this truck is in its proper place, mounted down like it’s supposed to be,” David Williams said. “It’s safer. There’s more room for equipment.”
“It sure beats that van,” added Chris Williams.
Both Williamses followed in their father’s footsteps when they joined the BCVFD (David in 2000 and Chris in 2003) and both work in emergency response at PotashCorp.
“There were many connections and we wanted to help them and the community to be better prepared in the event of an emergency,” McKeithan said. “(BCVFD is) a responder to our site in the event that we need them.”
It’s not the first stroke of good luck for the BCVFD in recent years: in 2010, the department received a federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant of $57,000 for water supply equipment and in mid-2012, a Cabarrus County department closing its doors selected BCVFD to receive its extrication equipment.
“Blounts Creek has been very blessed with donations and grants for the past three years,” said David Williams.
David Williams said the department is always looking for new volunteers, especially those available for calls during the day. At 27 members, he said, membership is low, but those on the roster are dedicated to the work: “We have a few who are 70, 80 years old — they come to calls to direct traffic and help where they can.”
And according to the Williamses, the consensus among membership is that Rescue 40 is pretty sweet ride.