Gas prices hit record high, emergency responders affected

By: Mystic Matthews Email
By: Mystic Matthews Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX - Several fire crews drove miles to help put out those grassfires in Ratliff City, burning dozens of gallons of expensive gasoline just to get there.

The national average for self-serve gas has hit another record high. Fuel is nearly $3.25 a gallon, with diesel topping $3.66 a gallon.

AAA says the latest spike does not appear to be driven by supply and demand. Instead experts blame the unprecedented price of crude oil.

It's a price jump that's not just hurting travelers, it's taking a toll on emergency responders.

Mystic Matthews joins us to tell us how that could affect you.

Local fire and police departments say they can't stop making runs just because the price of gas goes up. Lives depend on how quickly they respond, so they have to find ways to absorb the cost and that means taking money from other parts of their budgets.

We count on them to respond in an emergency, but with fuel at an all time high, many firefighters, EMS and police say it's getting expensive to make those runs.

Grayson County Association of Fire Chiefs President Allen Vols says, “These big trucks get 3-6 miles a gallon. We're running at pump speeds, which is high idol. So we burn quite a bit of fuel on a fire. "

But Vols says local communities don't need to worry. Service won't suffer because they will make sure they always have gas.

“There's no end in sight and we just have to go. We can't pinch pennies on fuel, we have to have the fuel,” says Vols.

Jona Lunde, a Preston volunteer firefighter, says many local volunteer departments are being forced to cut other equipment out of their budgets to pay for gas. "If we run out of fuel in the budget, it comes out of a different budget. As firefighters, we're looking at not being able to purchase equipment, like bunker gear, or personal protective gear. So it can have an impact.”

Even paid departments like Sherman fire are feeling the jolt of crude oil prices. But the difference, according to city officials, is that they can buy in bulk for city vehicles, saving much needed money.

Sherman Director of Public Works Jeff Miller says, “There are certain services, like police and fire and we just have to do that. We just take into account when budgeting and planning for operations that there are certain things we have to do."

Most area fire departments are in the beginning of their fiscal spending year, so budgets aren't depleted yet. But if the grass fires pick up when it gets hot, firefighters like Lunde say VFD’s will feel the burn.

“If the incidents are little lower and we don't have to roll as often, of course be able to stretch it a little farther. So far we've done pretty good in this community."

Departments like Preston say they continue to watch the price of fuel and will make adjustments accordingly so that service doesn't suffer.

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  • by revolutiongirl Location: in ready mode... on Mar 15, 2008 at 10:59 PM
    I agree with Gary. I would strike with you. We need to set a couple of days out of the vehicles and let them know we mean business. Gas is on it's way to $4 a gallon and that is bull. We could take control of this situation if everyone would quit complaining and DO something. Walk (if it's not too far), carpool, or take your bike for a couple of days. Have enough food at home for a few days. It would take a lot of us standing up to say NO! We aren't paying this much. Let's set a date or two and do it! Give us a week or so to get the word out. Use emails, text, phone calls, myspace, or whatever you can to tell everyone that the first week of April (or whatever date you choose) is NO GAS week!! I know that everyone can not do this. BUT... I can. Can you?
  • by Butch "Dubya" Hickson Location: The Stix on Mar 13, 2008 at 04:36 PM
    If george bush would not invade other countries and bomb them and spend $12 Billion a month on an unjustified war (Bush & Cheaney are terrorists), maybe we could use that money in the United States to improve our aging infrastructure to help fire departments, police departments, road crews, build new schools, roads & bridges, government buildings & facilities, etc.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 13, 2008 at 03:12 PM
    What do you mean open our tanks up? Use up the government's emergency reserve? Yeah, there's a real smart idea! People are too in love with their gargantuan SUVs and trucks. I see an endless amount of people in this area driving full-size trucks and SUV's to work. Look at all the soccer moms who have 1 or 2 kids and yet they're driving 8- or 9-passenger mega SUV's. They think it makes them "safe" in an accident, when the odds of them ever being in an accident are pretty small.
  • by Beth Location: durant on Mar 13, 2008 at 12:32 PM
    I agree with Gary..we have got to all stand together in this and do some thing now. people gas WILL NEVER go down. it's going to continue to go up. and NO we do not have to get used to it. the oil companys are just getting richer and richer. i know lots of people here in the oil fields and they say there is lots of oil here in the usa and that we do not have to depend on foreign oil it's our own government will not let them open our tanks up. and you know why?? because gas would be about 20 to 30 cents a gallon. and the oil companys can't get rich on that.
  • by Gary Location: Tom Bean, TX on Mar 13, 2008 at 11:28 AM
    We the people of the United States of America are being raped, supply and demand and all of this other bull they are talking about is just an excuse to raise prices. When are the people of this country going to stand up and say enough is enough? People are hurting out here and its up to us to take a stand and do something about it. Who knows what but a nation wide strike for a couple of days wouldn't hurt anything. something has got to be done because this country is going down the tubes and no one seems to care. I am truly ashamed to be an American these days, our government who is supposed to be working for us has turned there backs on us while we are being hit by this and it should be addressed. I have written our congressman and senator, and got the run around political talk I really expected in a letter back from them. Its time to take a stand people, its time to take our country back and stop letting everyone else govern the USA.
  • by and did you vote Location: republican ? on Mar 13, 2008 at 09:50 AM
    and if you vote mccain,expect 4 more years of it.
  • by Anonymous Location: Sherman on Mar 13, 2008 at 07:27 AM
    They are not going to get any better, so we might as well get used to it
  • by Oklahoma Girl Location: Ardmore on Mar 13, 2008 at 07:05 AM
    I will have to agree... before it was supposedly "supply & demand" Now its something else... TELL ME how it is that every other place is cheaper than Ardmore??? I know me and all my friends, family, etc... anyone I can tell go out of town to buy their gas now!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 13, 2008 at 06:06 AM
    Gas prices are ridiculous!! I mean come on..
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