Perkinston Firefighters Hold Fundraiser

About 35 cars registered for the Perkinston Fire Department's second annual car show. Firefighters hope the event will bring in about $1,000. That money is desperately needed.

"Whatever we can do to get a little money is a big help," said Jason Parker, a Perkinston firefighter.

The Perkinston Volunteer Fire Department has to share limited funds from Stone County with eight other fire departments. As a result, firefighters must use gear that is old and worn out.

"After so much heat gets on them, they deteriorate and the rubber backing is just gone," Parker said.  "The thread deteriorates and it don't have any heat protection."

"Very poor," said Perkinston Fire Chief Ed Carlin.  "It's hand me downs from all over, different departments and from surrounding areas, so it's just used equipment is what is is."

Perkinston firefighters don't blame the county because they understand that money just doesn't exist like it does in Harrison County where casino funds are available. But, they say something needs to be done soon before someone is seriously hurt or killed.

"They can run into a lot of problems inside a house with improper gear," Carlin said.  "They can burn, get burned up with it. And we're trying to get better so we can save our men, keep 'em down, keep injuries down."

Perkinston has 17 volunteer firefighters, but only four SCBAs, the breathing equipment needed to go into a burning building. The lack of equipment means it takes a lot longer to put out fires.

"We have the manpower," Parker said.  "We have guys that can show up to these fires, but they don't have gear to wear and without the gear, they're basically useless. And I hate to say that, but without gear, they can't go in a house fire."

The Perkinston Fire Department has applied for some federal grants so it can buy some equipment, but they don't know yet if any of those funds will come through. In the meantime, firefighters say they'll just do the best they can with what they have.