Are you aware and prepared for fire season? Capt. Tyler Pursifull of the Bell Count Volunteer Fire Department is.
Pursifull has been with the department since 2005. He was 13 years old when he began, and October will mark his 10th year at the department. At 23 years of age he is a captain and says he plans to pursue a career in firefighting. He attended Page School and is a graduate of Bell County High School.
“My father (Tim Pursifull) was a firefighter here when I was very young and I would run with him every now and then and was able to participate sometimes,” said Pursifull. “I saw a lot of what he was doing with the department. In my seventh-grade year at Page the department came over and spoke to us and advertised their junior program. I was interested and started from there.”
Pursifull went on to say that he finds helping others in their time of need to be very rewarding personally.
“It is a good feeling to know you are helping your community, he said. “There is no better feeling than helping someone. Any kind of structure fire is serious to somebody. With the economy like it is, we do get a lot of abandoned property fires, but many times we are dealing with occupied properties and things that mean a lot to the people it is happening to — family pictures and stuff like that, things they can’t replace, and to go into a burning building and save someones valuables, something that means a lot to them — that means a lot to me. They might not thank you or shake your hand or anything, but you know they appreciate what you have done.”
Fires aren’t the only emergencies the volunteers deal with. They respond to wrecks, downed power lines and other such events that occur in the community.
October is also National Fire Prevention month and the second week is designated as Fire Prevention Week, during which demonstrations and expos are usually held across the country. Pursifull and his compatriots will be visiting the elementary schools around the county to teach the children fire safety and protocol. They will also bring the truck and gear they use to show the children.
Pursifull asks that everyone remember the basics in home safety regarding fire.
“Have fire extinguishers, check your batteries in the fire alarms and if you suspect anything call your local fire department. It’s nothing to mess around with and if it’s a wasted trip, that’s better than having not called and needing them.”
When asked what he would say to others about volunteering their time to the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department Pursifull said, “I feel like an obligation falls to someone in the community to do it — someone has to do it. I would tell anyone who is thinking about volunteering to just give it a try.”
The Bell County Volunteer Fire Department was founded in 1979. At onetime it was the largest volunteer department in the state of Kentucky. Today there are nine stations in Bell County with around 80 volunteers.
Pursifull is a volunteer with the city fire department in Pineville also. He is currently enrolled in the EMT class and is going through the hiring process at the fire department in Louisville, Kentucky.
Reach William Tribell at 606 302-9100 or on Twitter @wtribellmdn