Thayer city VFD, Thayer rural VFD, working together
THAYER -- This week two volunteer fire departments are being featured, the City of Thayer VFD and the Thayer Rural VFD.
The Thayer VFD covers the city limits of Thayer while the Thayer Rural VFD covers a seven mile radius around the city.
The city VFD is supported through taxes paid by the residents of the city. It cost $25 a year to be covered by the Thayer Rural VFD. "There are approximately 400 people that pay a membership to Thayer Rural," said assistant fire chief Mark Arnold. He said if the fire department answers a fire call where residents are not members it cost $150 for every vehicle used, $100 to answer the call and $25 for every fire fighter that responds to the call.
Through a process called automatic aide the two fire departments share most vehicles. They have a 1985 Ford 750 gallon pumper, 1992 Chevrolet one ton truck, and a 2006 International 1,500 gallon pumper. They operate two brush trucks, a 1993 Ford and a 1991 GMC tanker truck.
The fire departments have extraction equipment, cutters, spreaders, hand tools, lights and generators needed in emergencies.
"Both departments have six self contained breathing apparatuses that will allow our fire fighters to work up to 45 minutes," Arnold said. Norman Todd serves as the fire chief for both departments. He said there are 22 volunteer firemen that participate in the city and rural VFD.
"The city fire department is governed by the Thayer City council. Thayer Rural has a board of directors. Officers include: Ed Taylor, president; Doyle Fink, vice president; Tim Ward, Ken Ragan, Gary Simpson, Charlie Washam, and Mike Harber serves as the the representative from the Thayer City Council," Todd said.
Arnold also serves as secretary/treasurer for both fire departments just recently taking the position over from Don Smith who died last month. Smith had been involved in the fire department for many years and both Arnold and Todd said he did an excellent job.
Todd said the fire departments answer an average of 50 calls a year
The fire chief said training is an important part of learning fire techniques and keeping safe. He said several of the local fire fighters are trained in fire fighting I and fire fighting II. He said all the fire fighters have attended basic fire fighting classes and some of the firemen have had Hazmat training. Arnold said some of the upcoming training includes a mobile water supply class, an air ambulance training course and an interior fire attack course.
Fighting fires is the number one most dangerous job in the United States and members of both fire departments know that all too well. In 1997, two Thayer firemen, Don Payton and David Carpenter were killed in an accident while responding to an accident call on Cold Springs curve just south of Mammoth Spring.
Todd said the fire departments work closely with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) assisting in fighting wild land fires. "They (MDC) are good to help us with the donation of their used equipment and with grants. We really appreciate them," Arnold said.