Get to Know Spanish Fork Fire & EMS – Part 1

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Not long ago, Serve Daily had the opportunity to visit with Eddie Hales, chief of the Fire and EMS Department in Spanish Fork.

Chief Hales has been the leader of the department for the past 18 months and comes as a fourth-generation firefighter from his family. 

Growing up in Pleasant Grove, Hales was constantly exposed to the men and women of firefighting as his father was the fire chief there. According to Hales, a good portion of the adults he associated with were  somehow associated with firefighting. He said that he learned early on that it takes a team to be able to get the job done, and that the collective team is all there for one purpose: to serve the community.

“I’m not here for me, I’m here for we, and we are here for them,” he said is a motto he lives by. 

Ongoing Challenges

When asked about the types of challenges fire departments deal with these days, he said that one of the biggest ones is finding willing and able-bodied men and women who want to be firefighters.

Chief Hales explained the need for volunteer firefighters all around the country, with Utah County being no different. He said that Spanish Fork has a number of volunteers already, but that the nature of a volunteer department is that many have other obligations that take priority. 

Hales further explained that just this year, the Spanish Fork Fire Department received 900 calls for assistance related to fire issues with another 3,600 estimated calls for assistance from the Emergency Medical Services side of the department. This works out to be an average of nearly 12 calls per day to just the Spanish Fork Fire Department.

Additionally, The Spanish Fork Fire and EMS Department has the second largest coverage area in the state of Utah with nearly 584 square miles in its jurisdiction.

Hales encouraged those with any interest in becoming a volunteer firefighter, no matter which community they live in, to reach out to their local fire department for more information.

Hales noted that volunteering can even be the first step towards a fulfilling career as a paid firefighter in the future. 

It was fascinating to learn that a fully equipped new ambulance carries a price tag in the neighborhood of $500,000. A fully equipped fire engine is about $1.1 million while a new ladder truck will run about $2 million each, bells and whistles not included.

In our next edition of Serve Daily, we’ll continue with Part 2 – and learn even more about the life-saving services rendered by those that selflessly serve their communities and fellow men. Until then, stay safe.

Kevin Jennings
Kevin Jennings
Husband to one - Dad to six - Grandpa to five - Friend and Neighbor to all.

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