Lyons Switch fire department gets CN funds

BY KENLEA HENSON
Former Reporter
05/30/2018 08:15 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
From left to right are Highway 100 West Fire Department volunteers Bobby Gann, Terry Smith, Tanner Wear, Cody Harrington, Robert E. Lee IV, Kenny Caughman and Robert Ketcher as they stand in front of a fire engine. Hwy. 100 West VFD is located in Lyons Switch in Adair County. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Highway 100 West Fire Department volunteer Cody Harrington puts on a leaf blower at the fire station. The fire department uses leaf blowers to create firebreaks during wild fires. The fire department recently received $3,500 from the Cherokee Nation. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Highway 100 West Fire Department volunteer Terry Smith sprays water from the back of a fire engine. The water hose can spray 1,200 gallons per minute. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
LYONS SWITCH – The community’s Highway 100 West Fire Department was among the 131 Oklahoma volunteer fire departments to receive funds from the Cherokee Nation during the tribe’s annual Volunteer Firefighter Ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa.

Each department was presented with a $3,500 check for equipment, fuel and other necessities.

Funds provided by the CN totaled $458,500 and is part of the tribe’s annual budget.

CN citizen and Hwy. 100 WFD Chief Bobby Gann said the department has received a check every year since the CN has been providing the aid.

“It goes a long way and it helps with a lot of stuff like parts, fuel, our electric bill and water bill. It helps with getting needed equipment if we need things like air tanks or new leaf blowers, which helped us get two new leaf blowers with last year’s money,” Gann said.

He said the department usually uses the money as its needed, but this year he hopes to use part of the money to build an addition to house all of the department’s trucks and equipment in one place. With the addition, he said the department could house other equipment, which is stored in the Rocky Mountain community about 3 miles away, and would make it more efficient for firefighters when they are called.

“Ninety percent of our calls are in this area, so we need to be able to use all of our equipment quickly,” he said.

Hwy 100 West VFD has served this Adair County community and a 110-mile radius for about 10 years. Gann said the CN helped get a grant for the volunteer firefighters to build the current fire station building. The unit’s fire stations contain two fire engines, two brush trucks, two pumpers and two tankers.

He said the department mostly receives emergency medical services and grass fire calls, but usually average four to five house fire calls a year. However, the department has already received five house fire calls since January, he said.

Gann also said the department is made up of 18 trained firefighters who receive training twice a year from nearby vocational technology staff or other trained professionals. The department also has four volunteers who are certified emergency medical responders, or EMRs, and one who is a certified emergency medical technician, or EMT, which is much needed because the closest ambulance center is 10 miles away.

“We are working on getting everybody certified in EMR,” Gann said.

He said Hwy. 100 West VFD only receives funding through the CN’s annual donation and county tax revenues, so receiving the tribal dollars means “a lot” to him and his department.

“Like I said, it goes a long way us. During fire season our water bill will sometimes be over $600, so it’s good to have that there when we need it,” he said.

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