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on the mailing address may very well not be the provider. “A call to your fire district ensures they know the lay of your land and can come best-equipped to help protect your property should the need arise,” Young says.


Fire dues vary per district, but they average about $65 per property annually. If a fire occurs on that property, as long as it is not an illegal burn, the owner will not be sent a bill. It’s like an insurance policy for your fire protection. However, if an illegally started wildfire burns the owner’s land or jumps onto another property, the owner will be responsible at an hourly rate. If the wind is blowing, hundreds of acres could be turned to black. The cost to battle that blaze 24 hours per day for several days could in turn put the property owner in the red.


Another way citizens can help is by providing food to the volunteers. Galbraith recalls working a wildfire for eight going on nine hours. They took turns pausing to pass around bags of Braum’s hamburgers.


“Even if it’s six hours cold, that first break you get will taste like a steak dinner,” Young says. Food, Gatorade and bottled water are always welcome if citi- zens are not able to donate financially. Most importantly, the firefighters encourage people to volunteer.


Finding Your Inner Fighter Cody Withey, Guthrie firefighter and Central Electric


Cooperative member, began his career volunteering with Galbraith in Coyle.


“I am where I am today because of them,” Withey says. “I will never forget where I came from.” Although Withey is now paid, he says fire services is not a job; it’s a way of life. He describes his departments, both volunteer and paid, as “one big family.” Because of the great need, it can be too easy for firefighters to place their department over their personal lives. His wife, Nicole Withey, can speak to the struggle first hand, but she says the passion to help others outweighs the inconvenience. “You have to understand and be willing to be strong enough


The Coyle Fire Department responds to about 125 calls per year. Photo by Nikki Withey


00:00:24 Every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the nation


70 percent of all firefighters in the United States are volunteer


In 2015, more than 33 million calls were made to fire departments


Are you ready to serve your community? Contact your local fire station or visit www.osfa.info or https://makemeafirefighter.org/


Source: National Volunteer Fire Council APRIL 2018 15


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