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Pictured are some of the members of the Rushville Township Volunteer Fire Department. The volunteers respond to a variety of calls.

This is the second in a series of stories on the county’s volunteer fire departments and highlights the Rushville Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Volunteers play a vital role in our county. They are frequently the first to respond and arrive on the scene of a fire, accident or other emergency situation.

Currently, there are volunteer units in Carthage, Milroy, Glenwood, Posey Township, Jackson Township, Manilla and Raleigh.

Each department has qualified medical and fire personnel who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At any given moment a volunteer may be called out of a field while planting or rousted from a sound night’s sleep and asked to offer their assistance to a serious situation.

“There have been a number of improvements over the years, both in equipment we use and in our training,” fire chief Jim Dice said at a recent meeting with members of the department.

Rushville volunteers agree with fellow volunteer Dave Kehl of the Glenwood Department in that volunteers are in something of a thankless position and are rarely called upon except in a time of need. However, the volunteers use that as extra motivation to be better prepared for the variety of situations that may arise when a call goes out requiring their assistance.

Over the years a number of changes have been required of volunteer departments. In recent years the upgrade of the equipment used has been the most visual; however, a number of other changes have been required since 9-11.

Training is now mandated by Homeland Security and is being done so that each department will have the same understanding and training on safety issues. Before that time, it was up to each independent department to train the volunteers.

The Rushville Township department began in 1983 and was started with a single truck that was obtained from Bill Hedrick.

“We converted a 1984 fuel truck into a tanker truck,” one of the remaining original members of the department, Britt Buhler, said.

Last year, the department’s assistance was requested on 139 runs by the 23 members in the department.

“The volunteer departments are an essential part of the county. I really do not think the county could survive without each of the volunteer departments,” one of the volunteers said.

Dice feels that many of the changes over the years have been beneficial, although many new measures do require more effort and commitment from the volunteers.

Rushville Township has 23 active members. Each volunteer is required to obtain 40 hours of firefighters basic training followed by an additional 100 hours of follow-up training.

“We are a proud part of the county and proud to do our part to serve the county whenever we are called upon to do so,” a volunteer said at a recent departmental meeting.

The department is currently looking to make upgrades to its current hand radio and paging system. The improvements will be used to better alert members of incoming calls.



Frank Denzler can be contacted at (765) 932-2222 or via e-mail at frank.denzler@cnhimedia.com. To add a comment to this story visit our Website at www.rushvillerepublican.com.

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