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Trucks seen as symbols for safety

In the volunteer firehouses scatteredacross Lincoln County, the fire truck is treated almost as a holyicon, a thing to be carefully cared for and revered.

    And with good reason: It is often the only thing standing between ahome or business and a pile of ashes.

    Lincoln County Fire Coordinator Clifford Galey sees the fire truckas the community’s symbol for safety.

    “It is the backbone of the fire department. Without it, the firemencouldn’t do their job,” said Galey.

    Consequently, not a day goes by that a volunteer firefighter is notclimbing over, under and around his or her fire truck, looking forproblems and making sure it is in top shape.

    Galey said truck maintenance is a top priority, not only forfirefighters’ safety, but the general public’s life may depend onit when we arrive on the scene.

    That’s why, he said, on a typical day, one of the approximately 200volunteer firefighters inspects the truck either before or afterhis or her day job. This is to check for leaks or damage that wouldprevent the truck from performing at its fullest efficiency in thecase of an emergency.

    The Lincoln County Fire Department has more than 45 pieces offirefighting apparatus.

    Every fire truck is a Class A truck and can hold at least 1,000gallons of water and can pump water at 1,000 gallons per minute. Infact, the trucks can’t pump slower than this speed, Galey said.

    However, because some homes may be too far from a fire hydrant insome parts of the county, the department also has some truckscapable of carrying 3,000 gallons of water.

    The board of each department sets the specifications of each truck,even the color. Fire trucks can come in virtually any color, butLincoln County’s trucks are the traditional red and white. Thechief of each department is in charge of truck maintenance.

    The truck’s appearance has changed slightly over time as technologyhas improved.

    For example, the original water retainers were constructed ofmetal, which over time could rust. The current retainers arecomposed of plastic, which is guaranteed to last forever, hesaid.

    In the event of a major structure fire, a second fire truck from adifferent station is dispatched. This is to avoid any chance that atruck malfunction will stop firefighters from extinguishing thefire in a timely manner, Galey said.

    To register as a volunteer firefighter, stop by any of LincolnCounty firehouse.