Many of the local fire departments will soon be having their annual fund drives during which you will receive in the mail an appeal for a donation.

Give generously.

All the money collected goes for local fire protection.

Anyone who has picked up a newspaper or watched television news during the past week or two can see how busy the local volunteers have been.

Just this morning, several fire companies were dispatched to a home in Franklin Township. Their fast response and excellent training saved not only the house that had the fire, but also the neighboring houses.

Too often, we take our local fire volunteer firefighters for granted. The feeling is that they will always be there if we need them. In reality, without the support of the community, it's impossible for our departments to survive.

Response gear, equipment like hoses and air packs, and apparatus are very expensive – and keep going up in price. Municipal budgets are very tight which usually means allocations to fire departments remain the same each year or are cut.

The volunteer firefighters respond in any type of weather condition – bitter cold, heavy rain, thunderstorm, blizzards – and any time of the day or night.

They train regularly. Being a volunteer firefighters means knowing about the proper streams of water to put on different types of fire, extrication during motor vehicle accidents, the proper use of ladders, how to use the pumps on firetrucks, the handling of chemicals, and most of all, teamwork at a fire scene.

The least we can do is show our appreciation with a donation during their fund drives. The volunteer firefighters don't ask for a lot, but they do need funds to function.

A simple donation is much less expensive than what paid fire protection would cost.

Show your appreciation. When you get the appeal for a donation, respond generously.

By Ron Gower