Kingston Volunteer Fire Department gets first paid position

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KINGSTON, OK - James Kuykendall has been one of Kingston's volunteer firefighters for eight years, and their chief for three. He's still volunteering to head up the station, but this month is the first he's had a new job title with a paycheck: fire prevention coordinator.

"We wrote a grant for the smoke detectors, but in the grant there was also a fire prevention coordinator position so we decided to go ahead and attempt that," said Kuykendall.

The fire station received a fire prevention and safety grant from FEMA for $91,000. It'll also pay for smoke detectors and arson training, and of course, the new duties that go with keeping Kingston free of flames.

"We'll set up a smoke detector canvas where we'll come out to homes and install smoke detectors," said Kuykendall. "Fire prevention inspections, we'll be coming around to businesses and be making sure everything's in it's place, the fire extinguishers are there."

Most Kingston residents we talked to are happy the chief is cashing a check..

"I think he really earns that right, and I'm all for that," said Alex Huddleston, a Kingston resident.

"I know some of the firefighters personally they're all volunteer, they all give their time," Daniel Canler said, who also lives in Kingston. "It's definitely a valuable service."

Kuykendall explains what a fire prevention coordinator can do for the community.

"We'll get to do some public education and some things we haven't been able to do in the past because we haven't had people available," he said. "And plus it puts someone at the station most of the time, that way we have initial response ready."

He adds that he's pursuing another grant to pay more firefighters on staff.

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