DIXON, Iowa (KWQC) - The Dixon, Iowa volunteer fire department held their monthly fireman's breakfast this morning, and these breakfasts are getting more and more important as smaller communities search for the money to keep their first responders prepared.
“Without these resources we have here, it would take a half an hour for the closest paid department to be here,” said Dixon volunteer fireman, Austin Coobs. “Which doesn't spell very good news.”
Small town fire departments, like the one in Dixon, have to have fundraisers in order to pay for the resources needed to fight a fire.
“It's simple, we can't afford to have a paid fire department,” added Coobs. “The tax money is just not there. I would love to have people here 24/7 and have the newest equipment, but it just doesn't work that way out here.”
The grant money that reaches bigger city departments just isn't given to small community departments, but when you're over a 30 minute drive from the nearest paid fire station that can be an issue.
“We don't have very much tax money income, so it's kind of up to us to do our own fundraising,” said Coobs. “Being a really small department we often get overlooked on grants.”
Not to mention, these monthly breakfasts help remind the community why a local station is important while giving the whole town a sense of family.
“Aside from just trying to raise money to keep things going, we're just trying to maintain a sense of community that seems to be slowly dying - especially in our smaller communities. Just kind of trying to keep Dixon on the map,” Coobs said. “It gets harder every year to get more volunteers.”
TV6 has spoken to other local volunteer stations, including the one in Silvis, who say getting volunteers is becoming harder and harder these days. These small communities want everyone to remember how important those stations are, especially when they're far enough away from bigger cities.