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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Response to Emergencies Improve with Round the clock staffing at Shawswick Twp. firehouse

BEDFORD - MARCH 16, 2023 - Residents in Shawswick Township have noticed a quicker response to emergencies following the staffing changes at one Lawrence County volunteer fire department.

The Lawrence County Fire Territory staffing at the Sunny Acres Fire Station has already been showing results.

Photo: Elim Eads works on taking care of hot spots following a small wildland fire on Shawswick Station Road Wednesday afternoon

A small wildland fire was reported around 3:00 pm Wednesday afternoon in the 300 block of Shawswick Station Road and the fire department arrived within four minutes of the call according for Shawswick (Lawrence County Fire Territory) firefighter/EMT Kyle Brown.

Lawrence County Fire Territory was formed in order to improve fire department response times, and provide ambulance coverage to both Shawswick and Guthrie Townships.

On January 1st, Lawrence County Fire Territory started its 24-hour, seven day a week coverage for Shawswick and Guthrie Townships.

" A fire grows twice the size in one minute of time," added Brown.

" The fire department got here very quickly, these guys have always done a wonderful job. We had a few fires in the neighborhood over the last couple of years, a neighbor had a grass fire that crossed the street on to us and the fire department came. Then, another neighbor down the road had a field fire that the department had to come and put out. Today, the department was very quick in getting here," according to the property owner of Wednesday's fire.

The fire station on Sunny Acres Drive is manned with four firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

When the call went out on Wednesday the department responded with a brush rig and fire engine. " We had 300 gallons of water on the brush rig, and 1,000 gallons of water on the engine, immediately when we rolled out of the station," said Captain Austin Brown Lawrence County Fire Territory.

Residents and businesses have been donating to the department in various ways since the department's presence have been around the clock.

" When been receiving a lot of donations, several people have been helping us out with EMS equipment, food, snacks, we have great support since we have been on the fire station," said Capt. Austin Brown.

IU Lifeline Ambulance service have donated several medical supplies to the department in support of the Lawrence County Fire Territory's efforts.

One of the many programs Shawswick Volunteer Fire Department have developed is the Junior Firefighter program, similar to Marion, Marshall and Oolitic Volunteer Fire Departments in Lawrence County.

With volunteer firefighters dwindling in ranks over the last few years, the junior firefighter program is vital to developing and training men and women for firefighting.

On Wednesday, Elim Eads, age 18, who has been on the department's roster for the last two years, as a junior firefighter. Eads will be beginning his Firefighter I training shortly.

Eads a student from the Stone Christian Academy says he enjoys being part of the department.

" I have just wanted to be able to help people," said Eads.

One of the many programs that is being considered at the North Lawrence Career Center is a Fire Science program, similar to the Hoosier Hills Fire Program in Monroe County.

The junior firefighter programs in several Lawrence County volunteer fire departments gives a activity for youth to be a part of and stay away from alcohol and drugs. In addition, help them be role models to their peers.

A fire science program at the North Lawrence Career Center would allow students to complete certain fire and medical certifications and could help fast track some training for those who would like to be a firefighter in the future.

The fire on Wednesday burned less than acre after windy conditions spread a controlled fire out of control. The fire was quickly put out, due to the fire departments prompt response.

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