SARCOXIE, MO.--- "It's very important that, as a chief, we bring our people home just like they went with us," said Jim Atchison, Sarcoxie Fire Chief.
Keeping firefighters safe means having the right equipment.
"The proper equipment is very important for the safety of the firefighters, first and foremost. If we don't have the proper equipment, we can't do our jobs efficiently," said Bert Carnes, Sarcoxie Volunteer Firefighter.
The gear can be very expensive, around $2,000 per firefighter. That's just for their turnout gear, which includes helmets, coats, boots and gloves.
"Yet, we're put in the dangerous situation with having to save lives and go in. So, we have to have all our equipment up to quality to be safe," said Chief Atchison.
The Sarcoxie Fire Department is made up completely of volunteer responders, and for them, getting equipped can be a challenge. They have 17 firefighters with gear that is close to 10 years old, and that means it won't be up to safety standards soon.
"We only get so much from the city per year. We only get so much from rural. It doesn't always cover the costs. So, we're a small town. We don't get much assistance from the state, so we have to make up where we can," said Carnes.
A lot of the money that keeps them up and running has to come from other sources like donations and fundraisers. Firefighters say without the funds, they cannot respond as quickly when faced with an emergency.
"Unfortunately, if we don't have the equipment, we can't come in and help them as easily. We might have to wait on another department to come in and help us," said Cheif Atchison.
Sarcoxie firefighters are hosting a volleyball tournament Saturday morning at eight to help raise money. It costs $60 for a team of six to play. It will be held at Sarcoxie High School, and registration will start at 7:30 a.m. or you can fill out an entry form on Sarcoxie Fire Department's Facebook Page by clicking here.
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