Nevada Fire Department member Stephanie Badger is on a mission.
First off, to understand her mission, she asks everyone to imagine the following: “Let’s say it’s in the heat of summer and our department receives a fire call … guaranteed their adrenaline automatically kicks in before they even get to the station. So they get to the fire safely and start to do their thing. Well, we all know that fire is hot, and we can safely assume the turn-out gear is not like wearing a spring jacket. So combine just the few elements I’ve described in this scenario and you’ve got a case for some serious concerns for the health of each individual firefighter. Throw in a fire that people didn’t escape safely and that adds a whole new element to the welfare of our team. Now, take all of this information and couple it with the fact that the Nevada Fire Department is a volunteer department.”
Badger wants to take something that Nevada Fire Chief Ray Reynolds already established as a need for the department and put a more organized face on it. She wants to share with people what is needed for the Nevada Fire Department to have a top-notch “rehab department” as part of its volunteer fire department.
“I was recently working rehab at the large fire in Ames,” Badger said. “There were crews from several different fire departments working together. The Nevada rehab team had water, Gatorade and protein snacks, but these fighters needed more.”
Knowing the tremendous toll that firefighting can take on the human body, Badger wanted something filling for the firefighters to eat. “I knew their night was still young. I reached out to two pizza companies in Ames, Papa John’s and Little Caesars, and they both generously donated six pizzas each. It was wonderful to be able to take that back and feed everyone.”
In late October 2017, Fire Chief Reynolds attended a training in Middleton and saw their rehab department and what a value it was, as well as being a vital need. When he returned, he started putting together a rehab team for Nevada’s firefighters.
“Without a rehab team, the firefighters have to rehab themselves,” Badger said, and that takes them away from actually fighting the fire.
Rehab is about more than just feeding firefighters. It’s about caring for their needs while they are fighting for others. It includes things like keeping firefighters hydrated,