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Volunteers provide heat relief for firefighters in St. Charles County

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO - Volunteers in St. Charles County are doing what they can to help first responders stay cool during this stretch of dangerous heat. The Community Response Program springs into action whenever Central County Fire and Rescue responds to a fire.

Volunteers drive a trailer filled with supplies to the scene of the fire.  They set up a canteen and a cooling island.  The canteen includes snacks and cold Gatorade and water. A tent provides shade.  Folding chairs are set up to give firefighters the opportunity to rest.  Misting fans provide a way for first responders to cool down.

Mark Runge is one of the volunteers.  He is also a retired battalion chief.

“If you’ve ever been inside a structure that’s been on fire and then come out and have someone hand you and ice-cold glass of Gatorade, the pleasure is immeasurable,” said Runge.

“We’re really proud to be associated with them and we appreciate everything they do,” said Central County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Gary Donovan.

The volunteers respond anytime the district responds to a fire.  They are also willing to respond to other departments in St. Charles County.

“My message to other incident commanders is to call us early and often,” said Runge.

Donovan believes the program is a one of a kind relationship for the St. Louis area.

“We feel honored that they come out,” he said.

Runge believes the entire community benefits by volunteers making sure first responders receive the type of support the Community Assistance Program provides.