Local fire departments and emergency service personnel play a critical role in ensuring community safety. Every community, no matter how small, should have access to top-quality emergency services.
Many times, rural emergency service departments protect not only their own community, but also the surrounding area. For example, the volunteers of the Elkader Fire District serve 85 square miles including the City of Elkader, Iowa, and the surrounding townships. The volunteers of the Central Ambulance Service serve 182 square miles and 14 communities.
During the floods of 2008, the Elkader Emergency Services Building suffered extensive damage. Unfortunately, this was not the first time flooding had compromised emergency service protection for the area. The building had suffered three previous floods in the last 18 years. City leaders knew a new building location would be necessary to keep their community safe.
The new $1.2 million building, which will be located in an industrial park, will include four double-deep bays for fire service vehicles, two double-deep bays for ambulance service vehicles, a storm shelter, training areas and a landing area for an emergency services helicopter.
The new equipment and facilities will help lower response times and thereby improve public protection for the citizens of Elkader and surrounding areas.
USDA Rural Development has programs available that can provide communities with less than 20,000 residents with funds for a wide variety of public safety projects including communications centers, fire stations, fire trucks, emergency notification systems, rescue vehicles, and fire and rescue equipment. For information about how USDA can assist your community click here.