Caulfield fire chief: Please help keep rural fire departments alive by paying annual dues

Caulfield Membership Fire Department recently received these self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs) and oxygen tanks, which were paid for with grant funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Fire chief Shannon Sisney said the department would not have been able to purchase the needed gear with money its received from dues. He said only about half of the residents within the Caulfield fire protection area were dues-paying members in 2021.

As most know Caulfield Membership Fire Department received a FEMA grant for equipment in the amount of $57,619 in 2021. This grant paid for new bunker gear for all fire personnel as well as new SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatuses) with extra oxygen bottles.

Due to covid, the gear is coming in slowly, but on Feb. 9, 2022, we received our new SCBAs and bottles (pictured above). We were able to purchase five new Drager packs with 15 bottles. The cost was $32,118.40, leaving $25,500.60 which will cover the bunker gear that is ordered. That gear includes helmets, nomex hoods which go under our helmets, jackets, pants, boots and gear bags to store everything in for 10 firefighters. 

I have said it several times, but will say it again, this stuff is very expensive, and we are doing the very best that we can to get the items we need to keep our men and women safe, but we still need your support. We still have trucks to take care of, and that is expensive also.

Let’s look a little deeper into the costs to help everyone see what we are facing. In 2021, our department received around $6,043.68 in membership dues (which would have been $12,320.00 if every resident in the district would have paid dues.) 

We spent $2,000 on fuel, $1,600 on workers compensation insurance, $5,500 on building and vehicle insurance and around $1,500 in parts for vehicles including what’s needed for oil changes and fixing things that had broken. That’s a staggering $10,600, not factoring anything else that had to be paid for or other equipment that we had to purchase.

It becomes easy to see that we are struggling to stay in the top side. We try to hold fundraisers and raffles which help, and we will keep doing that, but it would be great if everyone would pay their membership dues, which would allow us to have more funding throughout the year.

Ladies and gentleman, our department is made up of firefighters who aren’t paid for their work, and they are paying for fire department stuff out-of-pocket because the fire department can’t afford to pay for it. They already give so much to the community, it feels unfair that they should have to buy the stuff needed to respond to calls for free.

I have written grants for up to $743,350 this cycle, but of course, there is no guarantee that we will receive any of that money. Every fire department in the country is also applying for that money. We are doing everything that we can to make this fire department the best we can for our wonderful community as well as the surrounding communities. We want to have a fire department that the community is proud of.  

PLEASE help us be here for you all.


Editor’s note: Caulfield Membership Fire Department dues are $35 per year per household. Each household is responsible for paying their own individual dues, even if there are multiple houses on one piece of property. Membership dues and financial donations can be mailed to Caulfield Membership Fire Department, PO Box 92, Caulfield, Missouri 65626. Dues can also be paid online at (Click “Shop” from the homepage). To determine if you are within Caulfield’s fire protection coverage, call Sisney at 417-712-9911. 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423