PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. – High gas prices are having an impact on just about everyone and everything, including emergency services. It’s putting even more of a burden on volunteer fire departments.
Volunteer departments, like Arch Street Fire Department in Pulaski County, rely on community support to help make ends meet. As gas prices continue to increase, its putting a strain on the budget.
Captain Tim Preator said the department has five trucks including a tanker truck that runs county wide. He said these trucks use a lot of fuel not just getting to their destination, but fighting fires.
“When we’re on the scene of a fire, these things, not only are they running, they’re running at a higher RPM rate which is using more fuel because we have to keep the RPMs up to keep the pumps running and give adequate pressure to the guys on the hoses. It puts a strain on everything,” Capt. Preator said.
In January, Preator said they paid $2,900 just to fill those trucks. A couple months later he expects that to increase to $3,500. This comes as they are getting ready to use even more fuel to test fire hydrants and training.
“Dang how much fuel are we going to burn to test every hydrant we have in this district. We have to look at training you know what’s it going to cost us to do the drivers training we do with some of these guys,” Captain Preator said. “How much fuel are we going to use? We still have to do it but it impacts us more than a city department.”
Arch Street Fire Department will be holding a fish fry April 16 to help raise money for the department. Captain Preator said if the gas prices keep rising, they might have to add another fundraiser to make up the difference.