Betting on the EVFD

By Sandra Zunino

Whether a terrible car crash, a consuming house fire or sudden medical emergency,
in a split second life can be forever changed. Often the balance hangs on the speed and skill of trained firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

Fortunately, the Easton Volunteer Firefighters and EMS teams have been a fixture in this area since 1808. The oldest civic organization on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the EVFD is in the midst of celebrating their bicentennial. It is worthwhile to reflect on the dedication of these select individuals. Volunteer being the key word, firefighters and EMS members in this county do not collect pay for the hours they put in.

According to Drew Jensen, Fire Chief, the EVFD team is the best of the best. “They are top notch and professional, well organized and well trained,” he says. “I’d put them up against anyone.”

Drew has been a firefighter for 19 years, serving in New Jersey and New York. He has served the last 12 years in the EVFD and has been fire chief for the past two years.

Not only do EVFD volunteers give of their time to answer the call of duty, they also actively participate in fundraising efforts throughout the year, from bingo every Friday night, to chicken barbeques thru the summer months. The next fundraiser is the Annual Bull Roast and Casino Night to be held on Saturday, November 8th starting at 5:00 p.m.

Ever popular, this event has run for more than a decade and is always a great success. The cutoff is at 500 tickets and Drew predicts a sell out. Catered by Jimmy’s Grill with beef by Butch Frase, the food promises to be excellent. This year, instead of using a DJ to provide music, local band Great Train Robbery will appear.

Casino games, including blackjack, poker, dice, big wheel and more, will go on from 6:00 p.m. until midnight. “This event is always a lot of fun,” says Drew. “The whole community comes out to enjoy the fun.”

Funds from these events go toward the EVFD’s operational budget, providing hose, gear, boots, breathing apparatus, and specialized equipment. A breathing apparatus, for instance, costs more than $5,000 and every firefighter must have one.

Special equipment such as a thermal imaging camera is approximately $12,000. This special camera generates images to find victims in a smoke filled environment, or even the source of the fire. A new engine, not to mention, costs upwards of $150,000. Fundraising dollars also help offset training expenses.

The EVFD consists of two stations with four engines, a tower ladder, a heavy rescue, a tanker and numerous support vehicles. The 118 members provide fire suppression, rescue, a dive team, EMS and fire prevention education to the citizens of Easton and the surrounding county.

Tickets for the Annual Bull Roast and Casino Night are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Ticket prices include all-you-can-eat food, beer and sodas. A cash bar is available for mixed drinks. For tickets call the EVFD at 410-822-4848.