EASLEY – Donations totaling more than $20,000 have allowed the Easley Fire Department to obtain some “much-needed” equipment and tools.
The Easley Fire Department received both public and private donations amounting to $21,200 to purchase protective ballistic vests and a mobile light tower for on call use.
Those donations came from Libby Dodson, Ken Byars, YH America, Ortec, Sam’s Club and several other unnamed donors.
Fire officials say the intention of the ballistic vests is to provide added protection for personnel in unstable or potentially unstable environments when responding to calls for assistance.
Officials say those potential “unstable” calls could range from medical calls that are determined to be connected to domestic disturbances, suicide responses, fights/altercations, shootings, substance abuse, mental patients and assistance to law enforcement.
The mobile light tower is a MLT20 series, according to officials, and is supported by a generator with six 1000W metal halide lamp set-ups and a trailer with a 100 gallon fuel tank. The light tower can be transported to any incident site and utilized for any type of disaster, fire officials say.
“This vital piece of equipment will enhance our night time extended operations within the fire department and will help any other department that may need it,” Assistant Fire Chief Scott McClain said. “We appreciate the generous donations from Ms. Libby Dodson, Mr. Ken Byars, YH America SC LLC, Ortec, Sam’s Club and several (other) donors that did not want their name printed.”
Byars said his decision to donate came from seeing news stories about firemen who were ambushed while responding to a call. Helping to provide ballistic vests for the department was just one solution he thought he could help make a reality.
“It’s a hazardous job to respond to such an unknown situation,” Byars said. “To encounter a hostile person who may be trying to do harm to those responding to the scene is just unimaginable. That made me want to call the fire department and tell them I would support a vest.”
Byars said during his service in the U.S. Navy he had to undergo fire training. That training, he says, gives him an understanding of just how difficult fire response can be.
“Fire is a common enemy and to add to it the hazard of a hostile individual is just unimaginable,” Byars said. “Those firemen are at risk when they step out of that truck.”