Meet the Edgar Springs Fire Protection District

Attending ESFPD’s April meeting are from left: Treasurer Nick Jur, Board member Paul Dow, President Michael Miller, Recorder Sandy Miller, Asst. Chief Jake Wieberg, Chief Ernie Coverdell, Lt. Missi Klott, Firefighter Adam Klott, and Mickenzie Klott. (Photo by Shari Harris) 

Meet the Edgar Springs Fire Protection District
By Shari Harris,
The Edgar Springs Fire Protection District (ESFPD), like many rural fire departments, is another organization that would not exist without the efforts of volunteers. Volunteer firefighters give their time and risk their lives to serve their communities. The ESFPD held their monthly board meeting Sun., April 14, and answered questions about their volunteers, their challenges, and their hopes for the future of their department.
The fire department was first organized in 1967. Up until recently, the department survived on dues paid by members, but voters agreed to switch to a tax-supported department to distribute the support evenly across the district.
The ESFPD covers about 700 square miles. It reaches north as far as Yancey Mills and about 8 miles on Hwy. T, east to the Dent County line, south to the Texas County line east of Hwy. 63, southwest to beyond the Cherry Creek area and west to the Hwy. J and Hwy. M junction. Rolla Rural and Doolittle Fire are automatic mutual aids, and assistance is also provided at times by Licking, Lenox, and Duke Fire Departments. The Edgar Springs department provides aid in return to all of these areas as requested.
The people behind the district include the elected board, consisting of Mike Miller, President; Sam Newman, Vice-President; Paul Dow, Board member; Nick Jur, Treasurer; and Sandy Miller, Recorder. The firefighters are Chief Ernie Coverdell, Asst. Chief Jake Wieberg, Lt. Missi Klott, FF Dennis Fogelman, FF Michaela Sanborn, FF Sarah Lamb, PFF Desteny Dawley, and PFF Will Hanson. The district welcomes you to attend meetings, typically held the second Sunday of the month at 4:30 p.m. and announced on their facebook page. May’s meeting is currently tentatively scheduled May 19 to avoid Mother’s Day. The district also welcomes new firefighters and is currently seeking a medical director.
Currently the district operates on a budget of about $45,000 per year. This amount must cover workers compensation insurance on all volunteers, insurance on vehicles and building, liability insurance, a yearly payment on trucks and the building, upkeep of the equipment necessary for doing the job of a firefighter, and training. This amount is stretched very thin. An equipment expense this year is the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which will expire at the end of the year and which cost $1500 to $1800 each. It costs approximately $3,000 to outfit and helmet a firefighter. And then there is the expense of repairing the vehicles. Currently the district does not have an operational tanker truck, and this is something they are hoping to change. Their pumper truck recently had repairs completed. Rolling this truck, the brush truck or the rescue rig incurs fuel and maintenance expenses. Every Thursday, training is offered to firefighters to keep their skills sharp and increase their knowledge base.
Chief Coverdell has become adept at stretching a dollar. He plans to pursue a grant to help with some equipment this year, but cannot count on that money until and unless the application is approved.
When asked what makes someone want to become a volunteer fire fighter, Chief Coverdell said, “People that have a desire to help other people make a good firefighter; a community servant.”
It’s not enough that these volunteers give their time and risk their lives serving their community; they also support their community in other ways. The ESFPD has adopted two miles of Highway H from the fire station east for cleanup. During Fire Safety Week in October, the firefighters share their training with the children at Phelps County R-3 School. A Deer Hunter’s Breakfast is served in November. And the highlight for the firefighters and the children of the area is Breakfast with Santa in December.
Chief Coverdell wants the citizens of the Edgar Springs Fire Protection District to know how hard they have worked to build the fire department to what it is today. He asks for the community’s help to build it to what it needs to be. He encourages more community involvement in meetings. The district meetings are your opportunity to air your concerns or offer your input. Coverdell would like to see more members that care about the department. Even if you aren’t able to fight fires, help is needed in cleaning and maintenance of the station.
All in all, the Edgar Springs Fire Protection District expresses and has proven their dedication to serving the community, and this member of the district thanks them for their service.



Last Weeks Top Story