The Winfield-Foley Fire Protection District open house was a success as the volunteer fire fighters welcomed in the community to take a tour of the new location of Station 1. This new station can be found on Hwy. 47, across from Winfield High School and next to Hickman’s IGA. There was an abundance of things to do while visiting. Community members took part in tours, face painting, watched demonstrations, ate from the popcorn bar, enjoyed hotdogs, beverages, cookies, and watched the dedications. The open house took place on Sunday, October 28 from 12-3 p.m. This was a chance for the community to see what a $1.5 million firehouse looks like. This new upgrade was made possible by a $1.2 million FEMA grant that the station applied for in 2009. Since then, the station, all the volunteer fire fighters, and the supportive community, have been working hard to make up the rest of the funds that were needed to complete the project.
Winfield-Foley Fire Protection began in 1950 and was run by the fire tag system. All residents that wanted to be protected incase of a fire had to purchase a fire tag and was run by volunteers. Now, this strictly volunteer run fire department has a lot more ground to cover and many more people to serve with little funds to do it in and without fire tag fees. The station receives about 450 calls per year and has four stations located in the city limits of Winfield, the city limits of Foley, Hwy 47, and Hwy Y and W. Right now, there are about 40 fire fighters who actively help the community while working full time jobs and juggling a family life.
The Winfield-Foley Fire Protection District has not asked for a tax increase since 1990 and works hard to provide the community with the services that they need off of a small budget and acquired grants. Since it is a volunteered based program, these men and women that risk their lives for you do not get a salary for their extra time spent away from their family lives.
The FEMA grant helped provide the Winfield-Foley Fire Protection District with a more centrally located station to better serve the community, more equipment, better storage and a safer environment to live in. Some features inside the Firehouse that were required by FEMA are environmentally friendly appliances this means that the station is “going green”. They were also required to have two sets of washers and dryers, a shelter for the community (this is located in their basement), and a certain number of bedrooms to house the fire fighters. The station is large enough to hold three fire trucks, a rescue boat and a trailer that stores all of their search and rescue equipment. There are several bathrooms, a kitchen/living area, three bedrooms, an office/bedroom, and a basement which has all new workout equipment in it.
The new set of workout equipment was courtesy of a grant as well. It is intended to keep the men and women that serve the community in shape. A lot of the health issues that have been spotted in fire fighters have not been due to the hazardous conditions that they respond to, its due to lack of proper exercise and good diets. With the volunteers having so much responsibility in their home life, full time jobs, and fire fighting, it is hard to keep up with a gym membership.
The station will be adding live-ins that will be required to be in the station a certain amount of hours during the week. These live-ins will help to lower ISO ratings and will provide the community with a faster response time to their calls.
To help with the curb appeal of the firehouse, seventh graders in the Winfield School district came together to form a FFA group and worked on the landscaping outside of the firehouse as a community service project. The mulch and some flowers were donated while the seventh graders provided the rest.
Winfield-Foley Fire Protection is thankful for all the donated items that were received, such as the mattresses, box springs, flowers, mulch and extra help. They are still in need of very essential things and have provided an easy way to help by registering at Wal-Mart. Please view the items that Winfield-Foley Fire Protection still needs on their registry under the name of Winfield Foley Fire, registry ID 80502992333.