Verbena Fire/Rescue excited for new vehicle

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, January 10, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The anticipation built for a year before Verbena Fire/Rescue finally had its new truck.

Now that it has arrived, the volunteer firefighters are learning the features of the new machine and are better equipped to serve the community.

“We are excited,” Fire Chief Allen Goree said. “We are super excited.”

Five of the firefighters already have the needed qualifications to drive the truck.

“Everyone who drives that truck has to have an EVOC, that’s Emergency Vehicle Operators Class,” Goree said.

The Dodge Ram 5500 truck is designed for brush and car fires.

After receiving bids for a vehicle with the needed specifications, Verbena Fire/Rescue chose to purchase the vehicle from NAFECO.

The new truck holds 300 gallons of water, provides access for two fire hoses, has space for medical equipment and internal controls.

Goree said being able to control an outboard hose from inside the cab of the truck keeps firefighters safer than if they were standing next to a car fire with a hose, especially if the magnesium in the brakes or steering column causes them to explode.

Volunteer firefighter Justin Pierce, who joined the department six months ago because he wanted to serve the community, said the new truck will make it easier to put out fires.

“From what I’ve seen so far it is going to knock out fires pretty quick,” Pierce said.

The truck will also be equipped as a rescue vehicle with an AED, battery-operated Jaws of Life equipment and medical supplies.

Goree said the department had purchased the vehicle through a $146,000 grant from FEMA, which required a 10 percent local match.

The department held fundraisers, collected donations and used some money it had in reserve to meet the match requirements.

In the past, the department has not always had this level of support from the community, Goree said.

“I think we are being noticed more now,” Goree said.

A recent victim of a house fire that Verbena responded to, visited the department the next day to express his appreciation and pledge future monetary donations.

The truck is more advanced than the brush fire truck the department was using. However, Goree said the department is keeping the older truck to keep up with summer demands.

“During the spring and the summer, we will have 2,3 sometimes 4, 5 fires a day, and what this truck allows us to do is to split up,” Goree said. “We can actually split up now and enhance our coverage time.”

Verbena Fire/Rescue is accepting new volunteers. Applicants must be older than 16. Goree said living in the coverage area is preferred. Training is paid for by the department. Those interested should contact the department at 20