By Bing Brown
Special to the Roundup
The Beaver Valley Fire Department has added another important piece of fire protection equipment to the complement serving Rim Country. It's the department's new 3,000 gallon tender/pumper truck.
The department obtained the vehicle with help of a grant from the Federal Homeland Security Department. Through the grant the federal government paid 90 percent of the truck's $135,000 cost and the department paid the remainder.
The vehicle is the latest acquisition of the department through grants.
"During the past three years we have received grants valued at nearly $200,000," said Tom Zelkovich, fire chief. "Because of the grants, we now have an excellent complement of equipment for use by our 19 volunteers. This means we can provide better service, not only to Beaver Valley, but to other communities about us when they request our help," he added.
The new truck is important to area communities and the U.S. Forest Service because, except in the town of Payson, there are no fire hydrants to provide water to fight fires.
"In almost every case, we have to bring our own water to the fire," Zelkovich said.
The fire department now can bring up to 7,500 gallons of water to an emergency.
Key vehicles now used by the department, in addition to the new tender/ pumper, include a heavy duty six-wheel drive brush truck for hard to reach back road or off-road locations, a small rapid response truck and a standard fire engine for structure fires and assistance with grass or brush fires. Both the tender/pumper and heavy-duty brush truck were obtained through federal or state grants.
"There's no way a small department such as Beaver Valley or those serving other Rim Country communities could afford such equipment without help," said Zelkovich. "We're extremely fortunate to have been able to use the available programs to be so well equipped.
The department also has received grants from the Mogollon Health Alliance and the Arizona Emergency Medical System to acquire much needed medical equipment and supplies.
"These grants are also very important," said Zelkovich, "because at least 95 percent of our calls here and in surrounding communities are for medical emergencies."
Of our total volunteers, one is a certified paramedic, two are certified IEMTs and three EMTs, giving Beaver Valley FD the largest complement of trained medical personnel of any small department in Rim Country. "And there is one more person training to be an EMT," Zelkovich said.