Rehab unit looks out for firefighters

ALLIANCE – Looking out for firefighters on the scene of big events. That’s the mission for the Fire Department Rehab Unit Inc. that is based out of Stark County.

Formed last August and consisting of 22 current and retired volunteer firefighters, EMTs and paramedics, the non-profit company is dedicated to providing support to fire departments in Stark County and the surrounding areas including Columbiana County.

Specifically the mission provides “much needed rehab and reconditioning for firefighters in a timely and efficient manner as well as provide assistance to EMS personnel in the monitoring of personnel exposed to stress, exhaustion and the elements of fire suppression.”

At the FDRU mobile relief station firefighters can take a break, cool off and rehydrate. Chief Officer Steve Clark, a former member of the Nimishillen VFD, said the rehab unit idea had been floating around for about 10 years and finally took hold after a warehouse fire in Alliance.

The department owns one large truck and two smaller responder units that provide basic rehab until the bigger truck arrives.

Clark said the units are dispatched for emergencies usually longer than three hours or when temperatures soar above 95-degrees, plunge to freezing, or there are smoke or hazardous conditions blowing off of fires.

The units cover all the counties adjoining Stark County which includes, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Summit, Wayne, Holmes, Tuscarawas and Carroll.

“We don have road limits,” Clark said. “But for major things like train derailments we’ll go anywhere if the need arises.” Usually the limit is halfway across an adjoining county.

Donations are used for buying bottled water, electrolyte drinks, cooling fans, core-cooling vests, cooling towels, fuel, vehicle and equipment maintenance and insurance.

A flyer for the company says, “The FDRU operates solely on donations from folks like yourself and fund raisers which out volunteers put together in the community. We receive no assistance from any government agency.”

The FDRU is supported by corporate sponsors with donations from $1,000 to $5,000 and and from associate sponsors who donate from $25 to $500.

For more information, call Steve Clark at 330-701-7852 to set up a presentation or visit: