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Fire prevention efforts paid off, says RVFD chief

Oct 7, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Department open house Oct. 10

Riverton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ralph Estell said local residents did a good job of staying safe during this summer's drought conditions.

"We were expecting a lot more grass and wildland fires," Estell said this week. "But pretty much everybody has been pretty well safe. ... Which is a good thing. (Prevention) is part of the public's job."

This week is Fire Prevention Week in Fremont County, so Estell reminded residents to change the batteries in their smoke detectors and make sure they have reviewed their fire escape plans at their homes and places of work.

He also invited people to the RVFD open house at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the local fire station, 404 S. Broadway Ave. in Riverton.

The event will showcase local firefighters as well as ambulance crews, police officers and representatives from other area safety organizations.

"And we'll have our new rural engine company there," Estell said. "We got that about three months ago."

The rural pumper carries 1,000 gallons of water and also is equipped with four-wheel drive so it can access fires in hard-to-reach areas.

"It's multi-purpose, and we're happy to have it," Estell said.

RVFD team

Despite the lack of brush fires, Estell said the RVFD has been busy this year responding to vehicle fires and traffic accidents. He said his team of volunteers has remained relatively stable this year.

"We have a lot of good people with a lot of good experience," Estell said, complimenting his crew members for their support during his first season as RVFD chief.

Leading the fire department means spending more time on the job, Estell said.

"You're always in the middle of everything. You go to meetings and organize all the activities," he said.

"If anybody needs anything you're there making sure it gets taken care of. Having a good staff helps."

County calls

Through August 2012, the Fremont County Fire Protection District responded to 369 calls for service.

The total included 23 structure fires, 74 grass or brush fires, 92 vehicle fires and accidents and 85 false alarms.

Firefighters assisted with rescues or ambulance pages 52 times, with 43 calls designated as "other."

County staff said the miscellaneous incidents often involve smoking stoves or fallen power lines.

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