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Thursday, April 19, 2018

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2002 will be remembered as one of highs and lows for the Hardin Fire Protection District and its Volunteer Firefighters. During 2002 the department answered 93 calls for help and assistance. This was a dramatic increase over 2001’s 44 calls and 2000’s 24 calls. The fact that in two years the number of calls has almost quadrupled is testimony to how the community perceives the department and what the department does for the community. All records were broken on April 1st of 2002 when the department was toned out and answered 5 different calls. There were many factors that contributed to this large increase in responses. The first was the ice storm of January 2002. During that one event the department responded for power lines down, power surges, transformer explosions, and more. With periods of telephone outage the department was the central communication point with utility companies and others. During this one event the department was called out as many times as in the first three months of 2001. Another reason for the increased calls was a dry summer. The number of calls for natural cover fires increased in 2002. The third reason for the record number of calls was an increase in EMS calls. 2002 was the first full year that the department responded to all EMS calls within its’ district. In all cases the Ray County Ambulance is notified, but the department’s contingent of EMTs and First Responders are often on the scene first and begin basic EMS procedures. While the first two months of 2003 have seen fewer calls, and the department may see fewer calls this year, it is anticipated that the general trend of increasing calls will continue to increase.

Missouri 4th District Congressman Ike Skelton visited with Hardin Firefighters in May of 2002. The visit was an opportunity to show Congressman Skelton the issues faced by today’s volunteer firefighters. The visit included a tour of the Hardin Fire Station and equipment and an informal question and answer period. Congressman Skelton was very interested in the operation of the Fire Department and asked detail questions on firefighting operations and responses.

In August of 2002 the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) notified the city of Hardin that its fire rating had dropped from a level 8 to a level 6. This result was a combined effort of the Fire Protection District and the city. The new rating of 6 places Hardin in the top 25% of Missouri fire departments, and in the top 40% of fire departments nationwide. As an example of how this reclassification can save, one homeowner noticed a reduction of $80 on his policy. Since that same homeowner paid about $30 in Fire Protection District taxes, he realized a savings of $50. It is not very often that your tax dollars used right here at home can result in saving you money. Of course results can vary by each home since the savings depend upon the value of the home and individual insurance company.

The afternoon of December 28th was a special one for the department. For the first time in over two decades a Fire Truck was delivered. The latest addition to the Fire Department, “Engine 71” was put through its paces. Engine 71 is a 1984 Kenworth chassis with an FMC pumper body. The new engine is outfitted to be the primary attack pumper for the Fire Department. It seats up to 6 firefighters and carries 750 gallons of water. The truck can deliver up to 1200 gallons of water a minute through several different sizes of fire hose. The new engine is powered by a diesel engine and offers the ability to pump water and roll at the same time through a high pressure pump. The Engine will also carry all of the departments’ EMS supplies such as oxygen.

Other activities for 2001 included a fire prevention day at Hardin-Central Elementary and a successful visit by Santa in December. The department was awarded a $500 grant through the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri for fire prevention and used it to purchase booklets and handouts for the elementary students. During Santa’s visit to Hardin smoke detectors and batteries were given to members of the community. The department is continuing this program. If you live within the Fire Protection District and need a smoke detector or replacement battery, contact one of the volunteer firefighters. The Hardin Fire Auxiliary invited the community to a well-attended and successful tree lighting ceremony to celebrate the Christmas season. The Auxiliary assists the efforts of the firefighters with fund raising and support activities.

The department gave out two special awards last year. The first award went to Don Blankenship for 40 years of service with the department. Don joined the department in April of 1962 and has served in just about every position within the department. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Fire Protection District. Don continues to be a great resource for the department. The second award was granted for the first time in 2002, and is now scheduled to be awarded yearly. This award, Firefighter of the Year is voted on by all of the volunteer firefighters. The 2002 Hardin Fire Protection District Firefighter of the Year Award was presented to Todd Leakey. Todd currently serves as one of the three Captains of the department. Todd has one of the highest response rates on the department and can always be found in the “thick of things” during any call.

No summary of 2002 would be complete without mentioning the departments’ losses. The department lost one of its members, Frank Wheeler during 2002. All will miss Franks’ can-do attitude and positive outlook on life. During the early morning hours of December 18th, the department faced the circumstances that no firefighter wants to face, a fire fatality. The department continues to keep the Doss and Herring families in their thoughts and prayers.

Hardin Fire Protection District would like to thank all of the members of the community who have supported it during 2002. We look forward to serving our community again during 2003. Please remember to check your smoke detectors regularly. If your smoke detector is more than 10 years old, you should replace it. If you need one, contact one of the volunteers. If you have ever thought about becoming a volunteer firefighter, contact one of the current members and talk to them about it.
Hardin Fire Protection District wishes everyone a healthy and safe 2003.

Reminder
Change your smoke detector batteries every time the clock "springs ahead" or "falls back". Most smoke detectors recommend that you use Alkaline batteries.

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