Stayton Fire District, located 12 miles southeast of the Oregon state capitol of Salem, has an ongoing mission: "To provide outstanding service with commitment to saving lives and property." The District’s Fire Corps program plays an instrumental role in accomplishing this mission.

Serving approximately 15,000 residents, Stayton Fire District has utilized non-operational community volunteers since October 2003. In February 2005, it expanded its programming and registered with Fire Corps. The Stayton Fire District’s Fire Corps volunteers have been given the title of Support Members because they are considered a vital part of the department membership.

Stayton’s support members assist department personnel with a myriad of tasks including canteen and rehab services on major fires or practice burns, photography and scrap booking, and event planning. Support Members also assist with office work, building projects, fundraisers, and grant applications. Additionally, fire prevention and life safety education, support for the department’s Juvenile Firesetter intervention program, public fire safety advertisements, department presentations, and chaplain services add to the list of activities Stayton’s Support Members perform.

Recently, the Support Members hosted a raffle at the annual Firemen’s Breakfast to raise funds for the District’s Smoke Detector Program and other projects. Smoke detectors are purchased at a discount through partnerships with local business owners and then distributed to community members who are unable to purchase them on their own. Funds were also used to purchase supplies for "Burn Out Barrels," which are large trash containers filled with the immediate basic necessities a family might need after a fire and until long-term help arrives. The barrels may include household items and supplies, toiletries, coupons for food and lodging, after-the-fire guidelines that will help them with insurance, tips on replacing documents, important numbers, and safety information.

Other innovative activities of the Stayton Fire Corps program include the installation of reflective address signs in rural areas of the 104-square-mile District. This project was funded by an Assistance to Firefighters Grant. Address signs were needed to locate homes that were not well marked or addresses that were not visible at night. These signs help responders locate addresses and, as a result, improve their response times to these residents. Support Members also took pictures of students during their fire academy training, compiled them on CDs, and presented a copy to each graduate as a memento of their training experience.

Rhonda Grant, Stayton’s Fire Corps Coordinator remarked, "Many have found that each of us has something to give and being a Support Member is a rewarding way to help your fellow man, give back to your community, and make a difference."

To ensure safety, reliability, and retention, Stayton’s Support Members go through an application process similar to the District’s firefighting volunteers. They complete a membership form, and go through a background check, drug test, and a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) check. To keep Stayton’s citizen volunteers active and engaged in the department, the Support Members are required to attend and participate in at least one District activity per quarter to maintain their membership. In return, the Support Members are covered by Workers Compensation insurance while participating in District activities and are eligible for the District's group life insurance after six months of continued activity with the District.

For more information on the Stayton Fire District Fire Corps, contact Rhonda Grant at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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