Covering approximately 400 square miles, the Glen Ullin Fire Department is operated solely off of community volunteers. Those 33 brave volunteers answer the area’s rescue calls, fire calls, and also assist their local ambulance service when needed.
When the department’s turn out gear, used to fight structural fires, far outlived its life expectancy to the point that the protection for the firefighters was no longer there, Chief Shawn Dziuk sparked a ‘Suit Up a Firefighter’ fundraiser. “One set of turnout gear, from top to bottom, from helmet to boots, for each firefighter is roughly $2,500,” says Chief Dziuk. He says he went to the team in the spring of 2017 and pitched the idea stating that if they raised $3,000, he would run a fall 5k in full turnout gear with an air pack on.
From there, the idea took off. A couple businesses jumped on board right away to donate money to the cause. “Dakota Community Bank & Trust was one of the businesses that jumped on board right away. They donated, and they did a matching amount also,” recalls Chief Dziuk. Through this, the Glen Ullin Fire Department was able to raise over $26,000. “This blew my doors off. I was looking to replace one set of gear and all of a sudden, now we are able to do 13 sets of gear to protect our firefighters. I was floored by the generosity of our community. Now, to date, everybody who will be actively fighting fires has NFPA compliant gear, structural firefighting gear.”
So in September of 2017, Chief Dziuk ran… in 55 pounds of turnout gear with the air pack on his back. Others from the fire department, including Mike Gerving assistant chief and Firefighters Steve Glasser and Jermone Zimmerman, joined in for the 5k as well – some in full turnout gear with air packs and some without air packs.
The new equipment and gear has given the fire department a rebirth of pride within their fire hall and within themselves.
The fire department is also mutual aid partners with the neighboring fire departments of Almont, New Salem, Hebron, Elgin, and Beulah. “As a firefighter, you are there to do your best job when someone is having their worst moments,” says Chief Dziuk. Humbled by his own experiences as a firefighter, Chief Dziuk and his team know that no matter who they are helping or where they are, their firefighters are wired internally to show up and do the job as best they can.
If you have any questions on fire safety, please contact the Glen Ullin Fire Department directly or by visiting their Facebook page.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director