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Galena Fire Department Loans Engine - KOAM TV 7

Galena Fire Department Loans Engine

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Southeast Kansas -

Karsten Creech of the Baxter Springs Fire Department says volunteer fire fighters are used to working with less. 

"We have a much smaller budget than most other career departments," Creech said. "So we really are forced to make due with what we can."

But they're also used to working together. And when an old Baxter Springs fire engine in need of repair went down, the Galena Fire Department stepped up, loaning out one of their own. 

"Our department's their department. Their department's our department. We have a good, working relationship with all of our departments around," Galena Assistant Fire Chief Steve Hall said. "Their guys seem like they're our guys and vice versa, so it seemed like the right thing to do."

For many area departments, working together is a necessity. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, the number of volunteer firefighters has dropped about 12% between 1984 and 2014. Numbers causing departments in Southeast Kansas, which almost entirely rely on volunteers, to also rely on collaboration. 

"So we have a mutual aide agreement set up with all of the surrounding fire departments. Any time we have any kind of structure fire we automatically respond with those other departments," Creech said. "Whether it's our structure fire and they're responding to us. or it's their structure fire and we're responding to them."

In fact, one of the reasons Creech believes Galena would be so willing to loan a fire engine to Baxter Springs is because of how much volunteer firefighters depend on each other in Southeast Kansas.

"It's about helping the community. Not only our own community but other communities," Hall said. "We work very well with Baxter. And what better way to do it than loan them a piece of equipment?"

"Having an opportunity to get an engine like this as a chance to borrow it as a replacement is absolutely amazing and really helps us out a lot," Creech said. 

Both fire departments had to get permission from their cities to make the loan. Baxter Springs should get a new engine in about 10-weeks.

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