Firefighters outfitted with new bunker gear

District 11 Fire Chief

Photo by Clarke Davis
District 11 Fire Chief Jason Nellis and his son, Jett, 17 months, display one of the new helmets and some of the gear along with John Shipley at the fire station.


by Clarke Davis
District 11 volunteer firefighters are equipped with new clothing, boots, and helmets and got a bargain price, reports Fire Chief Jason Nellis.
Nellis said the department was able to get in on a state bid for $1,700 an outfit, saving $500 on each.
The district purchased the new outfits with a lease-purchase arrangement through the Kendall State Bank.
“We bought 15 sets and the rest of the gear is less than five years old,” Nellis said.
The old boots were simply no longer acceptable, he noted.
“We had a couple of firefighters helping on the Nortonville fire who said they actually had blistered feet,” he said. He noted the tops of the old boots would also wear sores on their legs.
“It was time we got new outfits,” he said. “These are the same top quality that were purchased by professional departments.”
The department volunteers train on the first and third Mondays at 6:30 p.m. There are currently 20 on the roster, about half of them new recruits the past year.
“We always welcome newcomers as well as cadets,” Nellis said.
The chief himself was a cadet on the department when he was 16 years old and is now a professional firefighter in Topeka. District 11 has three cadets now and welcomes more. One cadet, Blake Shipley, has plans to become a professional firefighter.
Cadets must be 16 years old and have their parents’ consent. They train with the regular volunteers but are not allowed to drive the vehicles or fight live fires.
John Shipley, who heads the ambulance department, has an enrollment of nearly a dozen people countywide for an emergency medical technician class that will be held starting in February. There’s room for more, he said.
Anyone interested in the EMT class should contact Shipley at vffire11@gmail.com.
The department is also equipped with a new rescue truck that is fully equipped for most emergencies, carries water and a pump, and can transport five or six people.
“We sold several vehicles that were not being used and replaced them with this one rescue truck,” Nellis said. “It saved the district a lot in insurance costs.”
The department will keep office hours from 9 a.m. to noon the last four Saturdays in January to issue burn permits. Once a permit is issued, all a person then has to do to burn is call the county dispatch at 863-2247 to get permission that day.
The chief said they will soon announce the dates the district board will meet in the new year. With both Shipley, a paramedic working in Pottawatomie County, and Nellis, a Topeka fireman, having such irregular schedules they are going to match calendars to determine when both will be available and schedule board meetings accordingly.
The department finished out the year with over 70 people attending a covered-dish dinner for a Christmas party at the township hall a couple of Sundays ago.
Nellis said it had been a long time since the department held a family dinner and it turned out well.

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Posted by on Dec 16 2015. Filed under Featured, The Vindicator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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