Gas prices: OH firefighters use emergency fund for ‘first time in 20 years’

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Rising gas prices are affecting residents and businesses across the country, and now a local fire department says it has “dipped into its emergency fund for the first times in 20 years”.

According to the Rome Volunteer Fire Department in Proctorville, Ohio, with a budget that’s roughly 60 percent government-funded and 40 percent private-funded, it’s essential to budget each year.

“We have money set aside to buy new devices, in case of a natural disaster, or if a major emergency occurs and this month will be the first time in 20 years that we have to dip into this fund to be able to maintain our operations,”

Rome Volunteer Fire Chief Nick Kuhn

He says that over the past few months they have seen gas prices rise to double what they were paying at this time last year.

What impact does this have?

“We average between $10,000 and $12,000 a year in fuel alone. This year, our projected fuel budget rate will be $20,000 to $22,000 if there is no increase in fuel prices starting today, which we know there is. aura,” Kuhn said.

He says fires account for the biggest fuel consumption, depending on the size of the fire, the number of trucks rushed to the scene and the time it takes to extinguish the fires.

How much gas is typically used?

“A lot of people don’t realize that when we’re on fire, especially engines and pumpers, they’re burning fuel at high RPM. These trucks idle to pump water. You cannot drive a fire truck to the scene and put it out. Sometimes these trucks burn a tank of fuel in one fire,” says Kuhn.

There are also behind-the-scenes operations that also increase gas consumption for the department. Kuhn says that throughout the pandemic, the number of medical errands they’ve had to do has nearly doubled. They also report car accidents and general service situations like transportation to install smoke alarms through their smoke alarm program.

He says that at present they do not plan to cut services to offset rising costs.