VOICE: Small rural fire departments handle big challenges

The substantial input of concert organizers proved to be an invaluable resource in key decisions. Contracted Events Security worked closely with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department to ensure orderly conduct and the safety of all concert patrons. Public safety departments in surrounding counties would also provide additional resources in terms of equipment and extensive communications capabilities.

Finally, the day of the event arrived and Luke Bryan’s “Farm Tour” concert turned out to be a hit for everyone involved. Thanks to the meticulous efforts of the people in charge of the general security task on the site, recordable incidents have been reduced to a minimum. Fire inspectors also ensured that the structural integrity of all assembled platforms was never compromised.

Managing a rural fire department that typically employs a select staff of part-time employees presents its own set of challenges. Rural Fire Service/EMS administrators often find themselves spending more time and unpaid personal effort to ensure that their service complies with all applicable laws, codes and regulations.

These daily challenges can be overwhelming for administrative staff, as well as part-time and volunteer staff who also have to juggle other jobs and family life.

The general public is largely unaware of these issues and may even take the availability of the service itself for granted, unaware of the enormous sacrifices required.

Residents of communities such as Mechanicsburg are blessed with dedicated citizens who choose to accept the challenges and responsibilities of ensuring the public enjoys a safe community in which to live. We encourage anyone residing in small rural communities to support these security services at every opportunity. They truly are the definition of the “unsung hero”.

Steve Castle is the Assistant Fire Chief/EMS Coordinator for the Mechanicsburg Fire Department.