The Ingleside Volunteer Fire Department, located near the Corpus Christi Bay in Texas, has had a long-standing history of volunteerism. The department was founded in the early 1940’s when local residents joined together to gather equipment and supplies needed to protect its population. Dedicated individuals worked to evolve the service into a full-time operation based entirely on volunteers. The department’s enthusiasm to help friends and neighbors is still strong today, not only from Ingleside’s first responders, but also from the members of the Ingleside Fire Corps (IFC).
The IFC is comprised of 17 community members and spouses of Ingleside’s first responders. They registered with Fire Corps in August 2006 and have donated over 735 hours to help with the department’s non-emergency activities. These include administrative functions, fundraising, fire and life safety education, providing refreshments at long incidents, public relations, pre-plan research, apparatus and facility maintenance, and more.
During Fire Prevention Week in October, the Ingleside Volunteer Fire Department and Fire Corps members held a series of events which included traveling to local elementary schools to teach fire and life safety messages to the students. The week concluded with the department’s annual Fire & Emergency Services Expo, where firefighters and the IFC team provided residents with activities designed to promote fire safety and prevention. Firefighters from the neighboring Corpus Christi Fire Department and representatives of the Ingleside Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Halo Flight Air Ambulance, and other local and regional entities all participated. The event was such a success that the IFC members were asked to help with the Corpus Christi Fire Department’s Fire Expo in April. The Director of the South Texas/Coastal Bend Fire Training Academy also requested the IFC’s assistance to provide snacks, water, and administrative help at various academy functions.
The IFC also contributes to other special events, including the Ingleside Volunteer Fire Department’s annual haunted house and a Little League Opening Ceremonies Parade. Fundraising events are an essential service the IFC provides the department. Members recently hosted a silent auction during an Easter egg hunt at the department. For Valentine’s Day, the IFC’s combined a car wash with a raffle to raise over $400 for the program. These events provide a way for the department to connect with the community while relaying essential safety messages in a fun environment.
In addition to fundraisers and special events, IFC members strive to reach the public with important emergency preparedness messages. They are working to provide all Ingleside residents with operable smoke detectors and promote the Vial-of-Life project, a program which encourages individuals to post their medical information on their refrigerators in order to assist emergency personnel in administering proper medical treatment. The IFC also plans to support a readiness campaign to help community members plan and prepare for any emergency situation, natural or man-made.
Members of the IFC are coordinating with the city’s emergency management team on a Special Needs Registry to keep special needs resident’s information up to date. This will allow department personnel or other community members to locate individuals who may need assistance in case of an emergency involving evacuation.
IFC members receive Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training so individuals are able assist the department in the case of an emergency. Some IFC members are also working to become Red Cross Certified Instructors for CPR, AED, and First-Aid. The Fire Corps team was recently successful in obtaining a grant to purchase a trailer that can be deployed during a disaster or used for community functions. Some members have received driver/operator certification for the department’s command unit, which is used for rehab and personnel transport.
The Ingleside Volunteer Fire Department hosted the 2007 Fire & Emergency Services Expo.
(L-R): Mary Hall, Katy Puig (in chair), Ann Marie Puig, Robert Puig, Dan Creswell and other IFC members participated in a Chair Carry as part of their CERT training.