WHEELWRIGHT – With more than $35,000 in various grants and funds now having been used to make upgrades and purchase new equipment, the Wheelwright Volunteer Fire Department has opened its doors to the public to show how the money is being used.
Sam Little, a fire department member and also a city commissioner, spoke to this during the open house the department held Saturday, Aug. 8.
“The main thing we’re trying to do now is get the community involved,” Little said Saturday. “It used to be if you weren’t a member of the fire department, you didn’t come in this building. Now we want to let the city know, let the community know that we don’t own the trucks, we don’t own the building, it’s the community who does. We’re trying to make the department more community-based now.”
Part of that effort Saturday meant having free food and drinks and inviting kids of all ages to take part in field dressing techniques and water displays. Little said part of the activities included he and other members of the department showing the kids how they can help themselves if they are ever in trouble.
Fire Chief Daniel Gullett said the biggest addition to the department has been a newly designed and launched rescue truck.
“We have a new rescue truck that is basically everything an ambulance would have on it,” Gullett said. “We can now provide just about any emergency rescue medical services we need to.”
The wait for an ambulance – sometimes as long as an hour – to get from Left Beaver is something that isn’t as big an issue now, Gullett added.
“There’s a shortage of ambulances in the county,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we designed this truck, which is also swift water rescue ready. Now we came go out and respond initially and stabilize the patient until the ambulance arrives.”
The nearly $35,000 in funds came from three sources, Gullett said – The Kentucky Fire Commission, House Bill 235 coal severance monies, and grants from the city of Wheelwright.
Sheldon Compton is a staff writer for The Floyd County Times. He can be reached at (606) 886-8506.