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Submitted by George Hetherington, president of the Ava Rural Fire Department Board.
Only Douglas County residents who live inside the city limits of Ava and in the extreme northwest corner of the county (Southern Webster County Fire Protection District)have tax supported fire protection service. All other county residents depend on one of 12 independent Volunteer Fire Department Associations located throughout the county and whose funding is provided through membership dues.
Do you know what association district you live in? Are you a current member?
Many county households are not current members. Some people don’t know they need to join. They moved to the rural Ozarks from other parts of the country, where fire protection is tax based, and assume it’s the same here. There are other people who choose not to join, betting that they will never need the fire department.
The lack of dues from those households means that needed equipment can’t be bought, worn out equipment can’t be replaced, and volunteers sometimes have to pay for their own training and certification.
Yes, that’s right! They have to pay for the privilege of protecting your property. Friends and neighbors, not only is that just not right, it makes it very hard to recruit volunteers at a time when the most critical need of every fire department is having enough trained people to respond to emergencies effectively.
Volunteer firemen don’t just fight fires. They also assist law enforcement and ambulance personnel at highway accident scenes with specialized equipment, provide lift assistance to ambulance crews on emergency calls, and are an integral part of the County’s Emergency Management System during natural disasters.
Membership advantages include: voting rights in how the association is governed, discounts from some insurance companies, and no additional charges if the fire department is called out. Missouri state law allows volunteer fire departments to charge non-members $100 to show up and $500 per hour to fight a fire, to encourage membership.
If you are not a member now, join. Don’t wait to be contacted. Don’t wait for the flames to threaten your home. Call your local volunteer fire department association and join, now!
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer fireman, please contact your association for details on how to qualify.
Non-Emergency Membership Contact Information:
• Ava Rural Fire Department: 683-2189
• Squires Volunteer Fire Department: 683-5653
• Skyline Volunteer Fire Department: 683-2364
• E-76-EE Fire Department: 948-0809
• Eastern Douglas County Fire Department: 259-0954
• Twin Bridges Fire Department: 293-5421
• Dora Fire Department: 261-2046
• Goodhope Fire Department: 683-0769