Auxiliary provides appreciation meal for National Firefighters Day

By Leslie Manning
Washington County News – May 7, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 11, 2015

Photos by Erica Mann. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

Photos by Erica Mann. Click on each photo to view full-size image.

washington co fire 5112015b

“We believe their families have to give up time with their loved ones during special events throughout the year,” said Angela Lindquist, Secretary/Treasurer of the Washington County Rural Fire District #1 Auxiliary. “We feel this is one time a year we can give back to all of our firefighters and their families.”

To give back, the RFD #1 Auxiliary hosted a dinner for volunteer firefighters from throughout the county to attend with their family. Due to sponsorship’s from local businesses, each firefighter received a gift from the auxiliary.

“The whole county is RFD #1,” Lindquist said. “We (the auxiliary) are here for the whole county and not just a single department.”

The auxiliary hosts an annual Easter Bake Sale, a garage sale during the Highway 36 Treasure Hunt and other fundraising during the summer. These funds are used for the times of need of firefighters and their families.

“We are here to support each of our firefighters and their families during times of struggle and to celebrate with them,” Lindquist said. “However, we can only help and support those that we are aware of.”

The majority of auxiliary members are from Linn, Barnes and Washington. This limits the auxiliary’s knowledge of needs among the firefighters.

“We welcome anyone who is a spouse, parent or a caring community member who believes in our mission and our firefighters,” Lindquist said.

The Washington County RFD includes nine rural fire stations in addition to RFD #1: Barnes, Greenleaf, Linn-Palmer, Clifton, Haddam, Mahaska, Morrowville, Hanover-Hollenberg and Washington. Though Linn and Palmer or Hanover and Hollenberg occupy the same district, each town contains a fire station. Each fire district utilizes at least 10 volunteers.

Most volunteer firefighters are required for safety to take Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) training, NIMS (command) training, equipment training, fire behavior and storm spotter training to name a few. A few departments require extrication training. The departments encourage continuing education classes which could include Firefighter 1 and II training, apparatus and others that are available in the area.

“This is dependent on each department,” Lindquist said.

All department firefighters carry radios or pagers. The fire chief or next in command determines the exact scenario to determine action for the volunteers. Some departments are called to assist in lifts with the ambulances, in traffic control for events or tragedies, during storms, with search and rescue teams and any other major catastrophe.

“Most of the members on the departments know what their exact roles are when they arrive on scene,” Lindquist said. “Compared to a full time department, this is very difficult, because not everyone shows up. Due to family and job obligations, it is hard to get a good response.”

When volunteers can help, they give up their personal time and sometimes leave their jobs for no pay to attend an emergency.

“Since we have started (the auxiliary) in 2012 we have held fundraisers and/or supported several families from our county fire departments during their time of need,” Lindquist said. “Without the public and their donations we could not do what we do, helping those who help others.”

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