Volunteer Fire Department Lacks Adequate Equipment

"We think the public deserves to have the equipment that they're going to need to be protected," Escatawpa Volunteer Fireman Wesley Pry said.

But Pry says this time, it's his department that needs help.

"If you don't have the equipment, then you're pretty much wasting time. It's sad because you have to sit there and watch somebody lose their life. You did everything you could, but your equipment wouldn't operate to get them out," Pry said.

Of the four trucks they have, these don't work at all. Their number two is more than 15 years old.

"It gets the job done until we can get someone there to help us out," Pry said.

And their prized possession is a thousand gallon pumper. It can hold a lot of water, but loses about a quarter of its tank everyday.

"It's like leaving a bread trail, you can follow us there. Then once we get there, we're washing the pavement for the county or wherever we're at.  It's our main pumper," Pry said.

When it comes to the physical protection of a fireman, they rely on hand-me-downs. One jacket was issued in 1986, more than 20 years ago. So when a fireman is trying to protect your life, they wonder if that equipment is strong enough to save theirs.

Pry said, "The better the equipment is, the better we can help somebody. Then we don't have to worry is this thing going to make it to the call, is this thing going to fall apart while we're using it, or is somebody's life in danger because we can't get them out of the vehicle in time?"

They say their jaws of life have failed to work in the past, And puts the firefighters at risk while they use it. Pry worries it might take a tragedy before this old equipment is packed away for good.

"These things are very, very dangerous for us to have," Pry said.

"Something drastic is going to happen. Then they're going to decide, 'Hey, two or three people died. Maybe we need to do something about this.' In my eyes, that's too many. One's too many. Nobody should have to die for something to happen, to get changed, fixed or repaired," Pry said.

The Escatawpa Volunteer Fire Department is holding an ink cartridge and cell phone recycling drive, and are also taking monetary donations. If you'd like to donate those products or write them a check, give the fire department a call at (228) 475-2912 or visit their website by clicking here.