The Axtell Initiative

Fire fighters around the world agree - time in a rescue situation is extremely important. If someone is involved in a violent wreck, the difference between life and death can be a matter of minutes.

Each day, over 3,500 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes. If you turn on your local news each night, odds are you’ll see another crash that happened in your community. At Daniel Stark, we know all too well that these tragedies happen every day.

When first responders arrive on the scene of the crash, they’re trained to rescue people from danger as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, many fire departments can’t afford the tools they need.

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Most Fire Departments are Under-Funded

Did you know that 85% of fire departments in the US are volunteer-based? Not only are those fire fighters serving their community for free, they’re doing so with outdated, inefficient, and unreliable equipment.

We first learned about the seriousness of this issue when we met Amanda Ruble – the remarkable woman who was fundraising for the Leroy-Axtell Volunteer Fire Department to purchase a new set of rescue tools. She knew how many lives those tools could save.

These powerful tools that can cut through a crashed vehicle in seconds. This means that when someone is trapped after a crash, they can get the medical attention they need fast – drastically improving their chance of survival. These tools can cost over $40,000, forcing under-funded fire departments to go without.

While these heroes do the best they can with what they have, we think it’s unacceptable and unsafe to ask them to go into battle underequipped.

Here’s how you can help.

Brazos County District 2 Volunteer Fire Department
Located in Kurten, Texas, the Brazos County District 2 Volunteer Fire Department services 132 square miles in Brazos County. The department is currently fundraising for three large projects: modern extrication equipment for rescues after car crashes, an extractor to remove dangerous toxins from fire fighter’s gear, and a system to refill their oxygen tanks at their own station.

Just like our friends in Axtell, this station’s current tools require a lot of time to setup on a crash scene – time that could cost someone their life. Additionally, without the ability to extract harmful pathogens from their protective clothing, fire fighters are exposed to extremely dangerous toxins. Finally, adding on-site oxygen tank filling would keep the department from having to send their tanks out of town for refills, which currently limits their ability to respond to calls.
China Spring Volunteer Fire Department
The China Springs Volunteer Fire Department serves 65 square miles in both McLennan and Bosque County. The department is currently fundraising for battery-operated Jaws of Life® tools, updated communication equipment, and updated bunker gear – the personal protective equipment worn by fire fighters.

The battery-operated Jaws of Life® tools will allow fire fighters to rescue people trapped in their cars significantly faster. The department also needs updated communication equipment that will allow all fire fighters to communicate quickly when on scene. Finally, replacing outdated bunker gear would ensure that fire fighters are as safe as possible when responding to calls.
Elk Volunteer Fire Department
Located in Axtell, Texas, the Elk Volunteer Fire Department services 19 square miles in McLennan County. The department is currently fundraising to replace old, worn-out bunker gear – the personal protective equipment worn by fire fighters. They are also working to build storage lockers for their fire fighters.

The department is currently using secondhand bunker gear donated from other departments. While they are grateful to have them, they are wearing down. This puts their fire fighters in more danger. New gear would keep their fire fighters safer when responding to calls. Additionally, organized storage lockers would help fire fighters respond to calls faster.
Southwest Bell County Volunteer Fire Department
Located in Ding Dong, Texas, the Southwest Bell County Volunteer Fire Department services 98 square miles of Bell County. The department is currently fundraising for a utility task vehicle for wilderness search and rescue operations.

In a search and rescue operation, time is crucial. You must be able to cover ground quickly. Full-sized vehicles aren’t always able to access wilderness areas. With a new utility vehicle, fire fighters will be able to cover more ground quickly, substantially increasing the likelihood of a successful search and rescue mission.

Meet our Volunteer Fire Departments

After we spent time with the selfless volunteers of the Leroy-Axtell Volunteer Fire Department, we knew that we had to do more. Texas is full of communities whose fire fighters aren’t given the tools that they need to keep their communities safe. Our mission is to solve that problem.

We’re proud to partner with four Texas volunteer fire departments from the communities that we serve. Each of them are currently fundraising for updated equipment that will help them keep their communities and fire fighters safer.

On October 28th, we’ll be donating $5,000 to one of these departments. It’s up to you to vote!

Here are their stories.

How To Vote

The fire department that receives the most votes will be awarded $5,000 on October 28th!

Participants can earn a maximum of four votes each:

  • Entering your email = 1 vote
  • Entering your mobile phone number = 1 vote
  • Sharing & tagging @DanielStarkLaw on Facebook = double vote total
If you’d like to donate to a department directly, please click the “donate” button on their photo.

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Don't forget to tag us @DanielStarkLaw

Voting Has Ended

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Help Your Local Heroes

Our goal is not only to award one of these departments with $5,000, but to spread awareness about this issue and help each department reach their fundraising goals.

When someone is trapped in a vehicle, a well-equipped first responder can be the difference between life and death. Ask yourself, if you were trapped in a burning vehicle, how much would you do to ensure that your local fire fighters could get you out in 90 seconds?

Because of Amanda, the town of Axtell, Texas, is safer today. With your help, your home town can be safer too.

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