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G-P pitches in for firefighters
check group
Russ McCollister, joined by Rincon City Manager Michael Phillips, city council members Paul Wendelken and Scott Morgan, Fire Chief Corey Rahn and Assistant Chief Kenny Whitten, presents a Bucket Brigade check to the Rincon Fire Department. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott

The Rincon and Springfield volunteer fire departments are recipients of a 2009 Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade grant.

Chosen out of more than 100 firefighting units in Georgia-Pacific facility communities in 28 states, the Rincon and Springfield departments will receive $10,000 each. Rincon plans to purchase air lifting bags and a strut kit to be equipped to handle emergency incidents involving retrievals.  

The Springfield unit’s plans include the purchase of a rescue saw, emergency light and generator equipment, and gas detection safety and oxygen therapy equipment.

Partnering with local volunteer fire departments to assist them in securing much-needed equipment for their operations is a natural fit with Georgia-Pacific’s commitment to safety, said Russ McCollister, mill manager at GP’s Savannah River Mill.  

“It’s the hard work of our local volunteer firefighters such as those in the Rincon and Springfield units that keep our community safe,” he said. “We value the opportunity to provide them with the resources they need to continue doing so.”

The Rincon Volunteer Fire Department has 27 volunteer firefighters and first responders.  Officially organized in 1954, the unit serves approximately both the city of Rincon and a portion of the unincorporated county, which totals approximately 12,000 people. With the funding received through the Bucket Brigade grant, the unit will be able to purchase emergency equipment that will now equip them to respond to emergency incidents involving retrievals, which they had previously been unable to do.

“The Bucket Brigade grant will enable our department to purchase this much-needed equipment,” said Rincon fire department Chief Corey Rahn. “We have responded to numerous emergencies only to realize that they were retrieval emergencies and we didn’t have the required equipment. In these types of emergencies, every second counts.”

“We’re planning on purchasing high-pressure air bags and vehicle extrication struts,” Rahn said. “The equipment will allow them to lift heavy loads in a much shorter time.”

The struts act as an A-frame, stabilizing a vehicle on its side, so rescue personnel can pull passengers to safety, said Rahn. 

Said Rincon Mayor Pro-Tem Paul Wendelken: “This grant from Georgia Pacific is just an indication of the type of relationship we have with them through the Rincon Fire Department and the relationship we have in working together. I’m grateful to Georgia Pacific for this and hope that we continue to have a very good working relationship.”

Serving approximately 3,500 homes and businesses, the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department team consists of 18 volunteer firefighters and first responders. According to fire captain Travis Zittrouer, the Bucket Brigade grant will help the unit provide a more vast range of services to the community, including reducing property damage resulting from fires and ensuring the safety of their local residents.

“With these items, we will be able to rescue victims more quickly from emergency situations and provide better first aid for those needing oxygen for any reason,” Zittrouer said.

According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, the majority of the fire departments in the U.S. are either run by volunteers or are mostly comprised of volunteers working beside career firefighters. These departments also are the primary providers of emergency and rescue services in their area. 

The Georgia-Pacific Bucket Brigade is a national program that recognizes the contributions of fire departments in communities with Georgia-Pacific facilities. Launched in 2006, the initiative has contributed approximately $500,000 to rural and small town fire units across the U.S.