By Justin McEldowney
The members of Patagonia Volunteer Fire & Rescue have decided to pass this year on what has annually been its biggest fundraising event. We didn’t start planning soon enough to run a successful event this June. Last year’s Steak Fry was well received and we hope our next effort will improve on that. We’ll be celebrating our 100-year anniversary.
This year the members will be conducting more and regular training and recruiting new members and try to build up an esprit de corps. We especially want to recruit people who are willing to jump out of bed at night to assist their neighbors with their medical issues. I know this sales pitch is falling flat but I see our town as being full of neighbors that jump in and help when help is needed. Having lots of members skilled to handle emergencies and willing to help when it’s needed makes the town both more resilient.
Our younger wildland firefighters have in the past been able to use our equipment to work out of state after our rainy season starts and this has brought in income for the department. Currently we’re in a rebuilding mode so in the future we can send out crews again. When you see our trucks heading out of town with lights on it’s often to work an emergency with our neighboring fire departments. These efforts are “mutual aid” and not paid work like when we work state or national forest land. We feel coming to Sonoita’s aid is our chance to give back for their support with their ambulance crews. Many of their skilled medics belong to both departments and we are keen to work together.
You’re likely to see some shiny new trucks in this year’s 4th of July parade. We have them due to the hard work of one of our newest members, Tim Regan. Tim has been able to secure a well conditioned fire engine to replace our older unit as our main in-town response vehicle. He and Bob Ollerton worked for a year to win a grant for another, our newest fire truck which was covered in a PRT article last month. It is equipped to be able to respond in town as well as support wildfires. While the grant covered the new water truck, we’re having to purchase the accessories to complete outfitting. These include radios, tools, lights, portable water tank, etc. My thanks for the grant from the town of Patagonia to purchase this large portable tank, which is on order now.
We also thank all of you that donated to help us purchase the smaller water tender a couple years ago. This 2,000 gallon unit has seen lots of use as it’s nimble and versatile, though not a real “fire” truck. We often roll out with our brush trucks to be able to keep the trucks topped up
Our group ran a drill last month to practice having these new trucks support an extended attack by bringing 5,000+ gallons to the scene. We will be doing much more training like this so that when something does come up we can respond quickly, efficiently and keep the problem as small as possible. My thanks to all the neighbors that are diligently keeping their yards trimmed up and firewise. We know you know the effort is worth it.
We’ll see everyone next month in the parade and fireworks. Contributions are welcome by the town to cover the purchase of this year’s fireworks.
Patagonia Fire welcomes your support by becoming an active member or with your financial support. Donations can be sent to PVF&R PO Box 497, Patagonia Az. 85624
Fire Captain Zay Hartigan will be happy to talk about details. (520 604 0200)