The Brookings Fire Department held its annual awards banquet on Saturday, honoring the hard work and dedication of its firefighters. Among those recognized were Firefighter Spring Sheffel, who was named EMS Helper of the Year, and Alexandra Cagle, who received the Junior Firefighter of the Year award. Engineer Mike Runge was named Engineer of the Year, while Captain Jeff Lee was recognized as Officer of the Year. Firefighter Wayne Sheffel was named Firefighter of The Year, and Captain Jason Dimmick received special recognition for 25 years of Service.
“The Brookings Fire Department had an unprecedented year of success, said Public Safety Director Kelby McCrae. The volunteer department managed a record number of calls, obtained lifesaving certifications, and secured critical resources through grants and donations.”
The department managed 639 calls, an increase of 41% over the past five years. Of these calls, 230 were fire-related, 260 were medical, 81 involved motor vehicle accidents, and 68 involved public assistance.
In addition, the Brookings Fire Department contributed 6654 volunteer hours towards call response and training and completed their 10th Firefighter Academy. This Academy includes training in wildland firefighting, annual wildland refresher, vehicle extraction, apparatus operation command and control, advanced fire behavior, live fire interior tactics, SCBA confidence course and other essential skills.
Five of the department’s firefighters were also certified as Rope Rescue Techs after undergoing a two-year training process supported by the Brookings Firefighter Association. The certification required a total investment of $18,680 in equipment and $7,895 in training.
The Brookings Fire Department also received $4,420 in funding to purchase hoses and nozzles for their training center at the airport.
Finally, the department received the exciting news that they had been awarded a Type-3 wildland fire engine from the State Fire Marshal’s Office following a lengthy application process. This new engine will supplement the department’s existing equipment and allow them to access previously inaccessible areas. The engine will be instrumental in the department’s efforts to keep wildland fires small and away from communities.