It takes a special person to be a firefighter/first responder. They are on call at all hours of the day or night and work in extreme, dangerous conditions.
Recently, Hennessey Firefighters have been very busy with multiple large brush fires and structure fires. They have assisted many other communities as well and have been assisted by other departments during events where Hennessey needed help. The hot, dry conditions have kept them working very long hours, and the extreme heat has made it more difficult since they have to wear the 70lbs of bunker gear.
This past week, Hennessey crews worked several large fires that kept them out for several days. In 2 cases last week, they left one fire to go to another. One was a brush fire and the other a house fire, where they had to call in Dover and Waukomis for help. Both of those fire departments had also been out for many hours themselves.
Hennessey has 19 volunteer firefighters, and all are required to be trained in firefighting skills by the State of Oklahoma. Several are certified EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) and can assist with basic medical needs.
You may not be aware of the many times when they go to work. Medical calls are more frequent than fires and sometimes come several times daily. Our first responders help Life EMS Paramedics with lift assists, CPR, and many other services that are not actual fires.
After fighting fires, their jobs are not done, regardless of the time of day. They have to clean, refill and stock the trucks, clean all their bunker gear, and prepare for the next call.
It is good to know we have these people in our town that give up their warm beds, their jobs, and their family at a moment’s notice to be there to help us when we are in need. It is also good to know that we have employers in our town who understand these people’s importance and allow them to stop work to help others.
Our locally owned restaurants also cook food when needed and supply water and snacks to help out when needed.
Until a few years ago, the Hennessey Fire Department had to survive on what the town could afford, along with fundraisers to buy new trucks and equipment. Bert Gritz said, “The county sales tax for the rural fire departments has become a huge help. Before that, we would buy used vehicles and build our trucks. Now we can afford modern equipment, which makes our job much easier.” Because Hennessey has this equipment and trained firefighters, it has lowered our insurance rates, making living here more affordable.
The next time you see one of the Hennessey Firefighters, thank them for all they do to keep us safe. You never know when you will need their services.