HIGHLANDS The Volunteer Fire Department held their 2013 Installation Banquet and Awards ceremony last Saturday night at the Monument Inn. Named to the top award as Firefighter of the Year by popular vote of the firemen, was Station 2 Captain Daniel Grabill.
This award is given in honor of Cecil Kelly, who volunteered with the Highlands VFD for over 42 years before retiring in 1996. The recipient chosen by vote of the membership is a firefighter who performed above and beyond the call of duty.
A large crowd of firemen and families, friends, community supporters, and board members attended the dinner. Fire Chief Harvey Little emceed the ceremony, introducing awards, guests, and honorees.
ESD# 14 President Jim Strouhal gave a history of the Department from its beginnings in 1942 to today. He emphasized the outstanding service delivered by the department, answering almost 5 calls per day, with response times of only 6 minutes for ambulances and 8 minutes for fire calls. Now supported by the Emergency Service District with a sales tax, and property tax, it originally was only volunteers and donations. In 1999 a Rural Fire Prevention District #14 was established. The original board was appointed by Commissioner Jim Fonteno, but the state now requires an elected board.
Chief Little also reviewed the department accomplishments and history of service calls for 2012. Highlights included purchasing a new Squad truck, upgrading the Water Rescue boat with a new 50 HP engine, and improving the ISO insurance rating from a 6 to a 4, for everyone who lives within 5 miles of a fire station. This should result in reduction of insurance premiums of as much as $100 per household. The department also improved its radio equipment, and launched a new website and a Facebook page to communicate with the public.
Glenn Chisholm reported on accomplishments in the training of six new members, and training and certification of existing firefighters.
Jerry Thompson reported on EMS accomplishments for 2012. The department has a new 2013 Dodge ambulance chassis and a new medical box. This department now has 12 paid volunteers, 4 intermediates, and 2 basics. Also 7 vounteer paramedics, 6 intermediates, 5 basics and 4 ECAs. In the last year, they had 4 CPR incidents.
Chief Little reviewed the history of the department for 2012. He noted that there were 1991 calls for service: 1284 EMS calls, and 407 fire calls. Life Flight was called 24 times. The department responded to 147 Motor Vehicle Accidents.
Membership in the HVFD stands at 78: 37 regular, 2 on military leave, 10 apprentices, 4 juniors, 15 retires (not in the total), 1 EMS, 18 EMS part-time, and 6 regular out of district firefighters.