Midland, Big Spring Fire Departments Get New Wildfire Gear Throu - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Midland, Big Spring Fire Departments Get New Wildfire Gear Through Non-Profit

by Kim Powell
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - The Permian Basin Fireman's Fund (PBFF) has only been around for a couple of years but they've already been successful in helping the local fire departments.  

In a photo taken in 2012, you can see wild land firefighters who are wearing heavy equipment meant for structure fires. Now, just two years later, a whole team is equipped with wildfire gear all thanks to PBFF.

"Our root mission, our purpose, is to provide firefighter safety in any way that we can provide with training or equipment is our cause," Chief Robert Isbell, President of PBFF, said.  

In 2011, Texas saw the worst wildfire season in its history. The outcome was devastating not only to wildlife and homes but there were also several firefighters who died. 

"We were fighting it the way we would a structural fire. We had the heavy structural gear, the tactics we used were those tactics that we learned along the way through the structural world. And so today, it's totally different," Isbell said.  

The new wildfire gear is the same material but a much lighter weight and can be worn longer.

"When we're on wild land deployment, it's a 12-hour day and we do it seven days a week," Captain Terry Jones with the Midland Fire Department, said. "So you're going to be out, probably in the summertime and it's going to be super hot. This stuff right here, you're good for about an hour in it."  

Each outfit, plus the gear, costs roughly $1,300 per fireman and fundraising through PBFF has also provided training.

"The tactics they use, the training they've gone through, has been enormous to this point and it just allows us to sleep easier at night to know if our teams are out there, engaged, we'll have what they need to be safe," Isbell said.  

It's been a slow couple of years as far as wildfires go, but when the next one hits, they'll be ready.  

"We're getting a lot of growth and the fire season will return, it's not a matter of if but a matter of when," Jones said. 

PBFF holds one giant fundraiser per year. This year it will be held on November seventh at Jake's Clays. To register for the event, please call Jake's Clays at 432-570-0290. Registration forms can also be found on their website at www.jakesclays.com

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