St. Joseph Fire Department earns FEMA grantYou will have a chance to stop and visit with members of the St. Joseph Fire Department during the Town of St. Joseph Fall Festival Saturday, Sept. 12 at the town hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
By: Margaret Ontl, Hudson Star-Observer
You will have a chance to stop and visit with members of the St. Joseph Fire Department during the Town of St. Joseph Fall Festival Saturday, Sept. 12 at the town hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The volunteer department was founded in 1964 and still has one of its original trucks, an International Scout, which only has 7,000 miles on it.
“It still goes out on calls for grass fires,” said Chief Ron Burton, who has been chief for the last 14 years and a member for 25. Burton grew up in the department since his dad was an assistant chief for many years.
Today, 45 years after its founding, the department is responsible for 45 square miles and approximately 3700 residents.
Chief Burton recently received a call from Senator Russ Feingold’s office advising him that the grant the department wrote in 2008 was approved. The $15,000 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant will be used for personal protection gear, helmets, boots and turnout gear.
Statewide departments in Wisconsin have been awarded 208 grants totaling $15,078,907 in Assistance to Firefighters Grant monies. Locally the Roberts-Warren Fire and Rescue Department received a $32,183 grant.
“The grant made life a lot easier on the financial end,” said Burton. “The grant recipients are chosen by firefighters, our peers.”
The department trains on average, two nights a month and regularly takes part in continuing education through WITC out of New Richmond.
“We have space for 26 lockers and we’ve have decided that is a good number for our department,” said Burton. “We have 26 members and they are all active. If you are going to be a part of the department you have to be active.”
Chief Burton also wants to remind residents it is the time of year to check and change batteries in smoke detectors.
“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of wearing seat belts,” said Burton. “Every couple of years we respond to an accident where a death is the result of not wearing a seat belt. For the few seconds it takes to put that seat belt on, it’s worth it. That’s a huge one for us.”
Another safety tip from Chief Burton, is a reminder for motorcycle riders to wear helmets.
“Helmets save lives,” said Burton, who after years in the public safety business admits, “It just doesn’t make for a good day when you respond to a scene, where you know the outcome could have been different. It has an effect on you.”
This weekend, the department will have an open house in conjunction with the Town of St. Joseph Fall Festival. During that time they will introduce a fund-raising raffle for a children’s bed in the shape of a fire truck. Tickets are $5 each and will be on sale at the Fall Festival and from department members through November 2.
In addition to the fire department, visitors may visit with Master Gardeners, Homemakers, Boys Scouts, take rides on wagons powered by draft horses, see historic tractors and enjoy food, games, music and prizes.