Sunday, February 21, 2016


Under the leadership of James Ederington, Jersey Rural President, along with Kenny Loomis, Fire Chief, Jersey Rural Volunteer Fire Department has begun the process which will lead to the designation of Jersey, AR being an Arkansas Forestry Commission "Firewise" Community. The value of this distinction is multi-faceted for both the fire department and community.As Jersey Rural steers the community through the "Firewise" Program, local residents and area volunteer firefighters collectively raise awareness of wildfire risk by developing practices that minimize wildfire occurrences aimed at saving lives, homes and property.  The process will span three to four months initially and evolve into an annual renewable source of continuing community education, firefighting equipment and grant monies for the Jersey community and its fire department. Volunteerism is a one of the greatest aspects of the "Firewise" Process.  Bradley County residents, not only members of the Jersey community, can contribute to the process by bringing their gifts and talents unique unto themselves  to this call for neighborly partnership. Through these fact-finding missions volunteers from ages 10-80 are gratefully encouraged to get involved in the diverse pairings of age, ethnicity and gender in search of methods of living safer in the wildland urban interface in which most of Bradley County residents reside. Serving as Volunteer Coordinator for this process is Alicia Avery. She can be contacted at (870)310-3000. All teen volunteers will be supervised. Knowledge of physical location of homes and landscape of the community's natural sources of water that could be tapped into for the use of suppressing a fire both structure and Wildland  will be obvious outcomes of the "Firewise" process. The culmination of these process will yield Bradley County's first and only "Firewise" community and fire department.


Other activities going on at Jersey Rural include the addition of a training classroom onto its station located 5 miles west of Hermitage on AR Highway 160 West from which Sheila Loomis, Instructor for Arkansas Fire Training Academy, a part of SAU Tech in Camden,will provide a closer source for firefighters to obtain mandated annual training for area rural departments. Recently, Banks Fire Department took advantage of these offered classes and by Spring's end will have 7 certified volunteer firefighters. Banks Fire Department responded to the last two fires Jersey Rural worked. For more information concerning upcoming training and classes  see our website at or in Bradley County Shoppers Guide.  No preregistration is required. Any questions can be directed to Sheila Loomis at (870)820-4189.

Also Jersey and Banks Fire Departments have started a program to encourage teens from the ages of 13-17 to become JR. Firefighters. Under no circumstances will these volunteers ever be present in any live fire scene .  However, this perimeter involvement of maintaining the grounds of the fire stations, assisting  those who can no longer take care of the removal of possible natural fuels around their yards and homes and sitting in on training classes at JRFD, but will not handle firefighting equipment, seems to create a hunger in these teens to be community minded as adults whether in Bradley County or out of Bradley County. A great former WHS coach, coach Marion Glover, once stated, " One's Sr. Varsity team is only as good as one's Jr.Varsity". Banks and Jersey fire departments are applying this timeless advice.

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